Clonidine is used to treat high blood pressure. Unlike ACE inhibitors, this drug does not interfere with enzymes in the body. Instead, it decreases the heart rate and helps blood vessels relax to make it easier for blood to flow through the body. This drug is continuously infused into the body through a medicated patch worn on the skin. The drug can also be used to control menopausal hot flashes and to help people stop smoking.
This drug can cause low blood pressure if given at too high a dose. Patients should notify their doctor immediately if they experience extreme dizziness or drowsiness. Patients who are pregnant or who recently gave birth should not take this medication because of risk of low blood pressure.
Patients should not abruptly stop using this medication because blood pressure can dramatically rise if they do. Instead, they should gradually taper off the medication under the care of a doctor if they want to stop using it.