Clonidine for Anxiety(A comprehensive guide)

Clonidine for Anxiety

In this comprehensive guide, we will talk about what “Clonidine for anxiety” means, what Clonidine is, how it works, related side effects and some reviews from users that are taking or have taken the medicine. 

Does Clonidine help to treat anxiety? 

In one study, published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, results showed the effectiveness of Clonidine in decreasing anxiety attacks and psychological symptoms in a group of 23 patients (nine with Generalized anxiety disorders and 14 with panic disorders). 

One of the known effects of Clonidine in the human body is related to lowering down blood pressure and heart rate, relaxing the arteries and increasing the blood supply to the heart. 

Other related know effects have been suggested, as in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder of ADHA in children, reducing tics commonly found in Tourette-syndrome and combined therapy for severing cancer-related pain. 

Additionally, some of the “off-label” uses have been related to the management of withdrawal symptoms from opioids, benzodiazepines and alcohol, insomnia and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

You might have heard some of the commercial names such as Catapres and Dixarit. However, the generic name is Clonidine Hydrochloride. 

Clonidine for Anxiety(A comprehensive guide)

But, What is anxiety?

Experiencing anxiety is totally normal and actually is part of your life.

x
[ 10 signs of hidden Anxiety ] video

However, when diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, it means the normal and usual symptoms experienced under stressful situations, have been persistent and more intense than it normally should.

Anxiety varies from one person to the other but some of the most common symptoms are:

  • Feeling tense or nervous.
  • Perceiving normal situations as dangerous or harmful when there is no evidence of real danger.
  • Having an increased heart rate in situations where there is no evident sign of physical activity, like running or going to the gym. 
  • Hyperventilating or breathing faster than normal.
  • Sweating.
  • Trambling. 
  • Feeling tired or weak.
  • Troubles concentrating or thinking about the present instead of worrying about the future.
  • Having Sleeping problems.
  • Having the urge to avoid things, people or situations.

How does Clonidine work?

Clonidine is classed as an alpha agonist it basically works by affecting the activity of norepinephrine (neurotransmitter).

One of the main functions of norepinephrine is to influence blood pressure, heart rate, and anxiety but it can also be involved in attention and arousal.

This medication balances certain areas of the brain making them “less excited” or prone to hyperactivity. 

When will Clonidine start working?

Clonidine needs to be taken at least for 2 weeks to start seeing an improvement in your symptoms, however, it may take between 2 to 4 months for you to notice full benefits.

Additionally, Clonidine is not considered as addictive in the short-tem but it can become highly addictive if the intake persists long-term. 

Some of the Symptoms include an uncontrollable use or abuse of this substance, losing interest in day to day activities and feeling the need to take higher doses to get the same effect (Tolerance).

Are there withdrawal symptoms?

When using Clonidine for a prolonged amount of time, people can become physically dependent on the medication and can experience symptoms like tremors, headaches, agitation, and anxious or nervous behavior. 

Forms of Clonidine

Clonidine comes in a variety of forms such as:

  • Oral tablets
  • Transdermal patches
  • Concentrates for injection
  • Topical gel

Posology (dosage) for Clonidine

The dosage varies depending on the severity of the condition but generally, it is prescribed between 100 and 800 μg/day (divided). 

Clonidine for Anxiety(A comprehensive guide)

Side effects of Clonidine

Some of the most common side effects according to rxlist.com are: 

  • Dry mouth
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Irritability
  • Tiredness
  • Mood changes
  • Sleep problems (insomnia or nightmares)
  • Headache
  • Ear pain
  • Fever
  • Feeling hot
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • stomach pain
  • increased thirst
  • loss of interest in sex
  • Impotence
  • Difficulty having sexual pleasure
  • cold symptoms such as runny or stuffy nose,
  • Sneezing
  • cough, or sore throat.

Interaction with other drugs

Clonidine might interact with other drugs that can slow your breathing or make you feel sleepy like is the case of sleeping pills, narcotics, muscle relaxers, anxiety depression or seizure medicines. 

Other known drugs that interact with Clonidine are antidepressants, beta-blockers and other products that contain Clonidine such as medication for high blood pressure of those who treat heart problems. 

Clonidine for Anxiety(A comprehensive guide)

Kelty Medical Health Canada advises to contact your doctor immediately if you have any of these potentially serious side effects:

  •  Skin rash with swelling and itching or trouble breathing (seek emergency help immediately) 
  • Worsened depression (prolonged sadness) or other unusual changes in mood (discuss this with your doctor) 
  •  Fast or slow heart rate, irregular heartbeat (discuss this with your doctor) 
  • Increased agitation, restlessness or irritability 
  • Sudden onset of high blood pressure, fast heartbeat, agitation, headache, stomach upset, sweating, nausea or vomiting (This may happen if clonidine treatment is stopped suddenly. If these effects occur, seek emergency help immediately)
Clonidine for Anxiety(A comprehensive guide)

Reviews for Clonidine for anxiety from Drugs.com:

Anonymous

·

Taken for 1 to 6 months

November 22, 2019

“I took Clonidine for a month to help with tapering off xanax. The first week was ok. It helped me motivate and feel somewhat better. After that, all downhill. My hair started thinning excessively, especially when I washed it. Then, I just felt overmedicated and aggravated. This is my own personal experience. I don’t recommend it to people highly stressed. I think in my opinion, it should be used under a dr supervision only. The night sweats were AWFUL. And my peaceful nights sleep turned into vivid nightmares and dreams so odd.”

3.0

Anonymous

·

Taken for less than 1 month

November 12, 2019

“In my opinion Clonidine is the best prescription for panic and anxiety. Nothing else worked.”

10

don

·

Taken for 1 to 6 months

October 29, 2019

“Clonidine is the best medication for my anxiety. I take in am and then at bedtime, my anxiety is gone, a GOD blessing for me, better than benzos……”

10

MrMisdiagnosed

·

Taken for 1 to 6 months

October 19, 2019

“I was given 0.1mg twice per day to control anxiety but it made me so tired and dizzy it was difficult to stand up. Many years later after seeing dozens of doctors it was determined I had adrenal insufficiency and needed hydrocortisone. This drug will decrease Cortisol production and make you feel even worse so be advised.”

3.0

Katherine

·

Taken for less than 1 month

September 28, 2019

“I have been dealing with anxiety for about 10 years now with the occasional panic attack. In the last 9 months my anxiety has been so severe that I’m anxious every second of the day and panic when I have to leave the house. It’s made it hard to function and hold down a job. I recently got a new job and I was having extreme anxiety to the point of feeling suicidal because I felt like I could not continue living with the severity of my anxiety. I was on 6 different medications and not getting any relief. Finally my doctor prescribed be Clonidine 0.1 three weeks times a day. For the first time in 9 months I finally felt better. My doctor upped. My dose to 4 times a day and now I’m feeling better than ever! I’m able to function and work again. This is a miracle drug to me. I’m finally living my life again. I would highly recommend trying this drug if you have severe anxiety like me.”

Why is this blog about Clonidine and Anxiety important?

 This blog about Clonidine for Anxiety is important because you might be taking Clonidine or planning to start taking it.

It gives a more comprehensive approach and understanding of how could Clonidine help to treat anxiety-related symptoms, what is anxiety, how Clonidine is normally prescribed, available forms, what is it supposed to do, possible side effects and drug interaction. 

These basic questions you need to take into consideration when starting to use any drug. If there are additional specific questions related to your condition, we advise seeking help from your doctor. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) about CNS depression

Is Clonidine the same as Xanax?

Clonidine and Xanax are not the same and they belong to different drug categories.

Clonidine is a centrally acting alpha-agonist hypotensive agent and Xanax is considered a benzodiazepine.

How long does it take for Clonidine to take effect for anxiety?

Clonidine will usually take up to 2 weeks to start taking effect and for you to see improvements.

However, it can take between 2 to 4 months to see the effects of Clonidine related to your anxiety symptoms.

How much Clonidine should I take for anxiety?

The dosage varies depending on the severity of the condition but generally, it is prescribed between 100 and 800 μg/day (divided). 

Is Clonidine a sedative?

 Clonidine has sedative, analgesic and anxiolytic properties.

It is usually prescribed for the treatment of hypertension but it also effective for migraines and menopausal flushing. 

Does clonidine help with depression?

Clonidine can actually contribute to depression worsen anxiety symptoms, hallucinations, and sleep disorders.

These effects can become dangerous, and they should be treated by medical professionals as soon as possible. 

Recommended reading

  1. Clonidine Hydrochloride; Complete Self-Assessment Guide
  2. Clonidine; A Clear and Concise Reference
  3. Efficacy Of Clonidine & Steroid In Stellate Ganglion Block
  4. Overcoming Depression – Get Happy Again: The Self-Help Workbook for Understanding Depression, Anxiety and Panic Attacks
  5.  Anxiety: Panicking about Panic: A powerful, self-help guide for those suffering from an Anxiety or Panic Disorder (Panic Attacks, Panic Attack Book)

References

Hoehn-Saric, R., Merchant, A.F, Keyser, M.L, and Smith, V.K (1981). Effects of Clonidine on Anxiety Disorders. Archives of General Psychiatry. Nov;38(11):1278-82 

Rxlist.com 

Kelty Mental Health Canada

American Addiction Centers

Clonidine for Anxiety(A comprehensive guide)

Juanita Agboola

Juanita Agboola is the editor in chief of HFNE and an expert in mental health online. She has been writing about online behavior, mental health and psychology issues since 2012. All Guides are reviewed by our editorial team which constitutes various clinical psychologists, PhD and PsyD colleagues.