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Clonidine for Treating Hot Flashes


Examples

Generic NameBrand Name
clonidineCatapres

Clonidine is available by prescription only in pill or patch form.

How It Works

Clonidine is a blood pressure medicine that relaxes the smooth muscle of blood vessels, causing them to widen, or dilate. This reduces the pressure of blood flow through the artery. Clonidine's effect on hot flashes is not well understood.

Why It Is Used

Clonidine can be used to treat hot flashes. Because it is a nonhormonal treatment, women with a history of breast cancer can use it without increasing the risk of further cancer cell growth (as in the case of estrogen treatment).

How Well It Works

Clonidine may relieve hot flashes for some women. But studies have not shown that clonidine makes hot flashes less severe or less frequent.1

If you have high blood pressure and hot flashes, clonidine may be an effective choice for both problems.

Side Effects

Possible side effects of clonidine include:

Clonidine lowers blood pressure, so your blood pressure is monitored while you are taking this medicine. With low blood pressure, sitting or standing up quickly may make you dizzy (called postural or orthostatic hypotension).

The clonidine patch may cause skin irritation.

See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

What To Think About

The clonidine patch should be changed weekly.

Do not suddenly stop taking clonidine. To stop clonidine use, slowly decrease your dose over 2 to 4 days to prevent nervousness, agitation, headache, confusion, and tremor along with a sudden rise in blood pressure (rebound hypertension).

Clonidine for treating hot flashes is an off-label use.

Complete the new medication information form (PDF)Click here to view a form.(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.

References

Citations

  1. Morris E, Rymer J (2007). Menopausal symptoms, search date December 2006. Online version of BMJ Clinical Evidence. Also available online: http://www.clinicalevidence.com.

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerKathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerCarla J. Herman, MD, MD, MPH - Geriatric Medicine
Last RevisedMay 4, 2010

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

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