Clonidine is primarily used to treat hypertension and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) among children. Besides these two, it also has potential in treating other illnesses such as migraines, withdrawal symptoms, and diarrhea. Some medical practitioners also prescribe Clonidine for anxiety.
Clonidine is a centrally acting α2 adrenergic agonist and imidazoline receptor agonist. It was initially used to treat hypertension in the mid-1960’s under the brand name Catapres. Another version of the drug named Kapvay debuted recently in 2010 as a treatment for ADHD for children between 7-16 years old. Other brand names of Clonidine include Nexiclon, Clophelin, and Jenloga. (1)
What Is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a mental disorder that causes people to experience excessive fear or worry. It is one of the most prevalent mental health disorders in the world. It affects at least 44 million adults in the US alone. Sadly, only about a third of them get the proper treatment. (2)
Anxiety may be due to various factors such as the environment, stress, trauma, or genetics. Its severity can range anywhere from mild worry to disabling panic attacks. Multiple forms of it exist such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic disorders, and social anxiety disorders. It may also worsen through time if the patient disregards its symptoms.
If you experience the symptoms of anxiety, it is best that you immediately approach a psychologist for an evaluation. Doing so can help prevent it from worsening and developing to more severe mental disorders such as depression.
Can I Use Clonidine For Anxiety?
The Food and Drug Administration has not approved Clonidine for the treatment of anxiety. However, some studies suggest that it can help reduce the symptoms of some anxiety disorders. It is worth noting that these effects were most prevalent when the patients took the drug alongside other anxiety medications.
A study done on Clonidine found that patients who take the drug have fewer anxiety attacks and “psychic” symptoms. The somatic symptoms patients experienced also decreased, but only minimally. However, 17% of the patients reported that their symptoms worsened while taking Clonidine for anxiety.(3)
Taking any drug for its off-label uses can be dangerous if done without supervision. It may result in various side effects that can cause more harm than good. The FDA has likewise contraindicated Clonidine for some people. Make sure to first consult a medical expert before taking Clonidine for anxiety.
Other Uses For Clonidine
Further studies on Clonidine have shown its potential in treating several other diseases. Although the FDA is yet to approve most of these uses, some medical practitioners have already begun prescribing Clonidine for them.
According to a journal published in 2014, Clonidine can efficiently reduce the symptoms of Tourette syndrome. The drug can also help reduce withdrawal symptoms among long-term users of narcotics, alcohol, benzodiazepines, and nicotine (smoking).
Some of its other off-label uses include the treatment of psychiatric disorders including sleep disorder, stress, and hyperarousal due to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or borderline personality disorder. Some doctors also prescribe the drug to treat various pain disorders such as diabetic neuropathy, migraine, and restless leg syndrome. (4)