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Precautions and Warnings With Clonidine ER

Before taking clonidine ER, make sure your healthcare provider is aware of any medical issues you have, such as a slow heart rate or a history of fainting. Other safety precautions with clonidine ER include potential warnings of using this drug if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Also, you may not be able to take this drug if you have certain allergies or are taking certain medications.

What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider Before Taking Clonidine ER?

You should talk with your child's healthcare provider prior to starting treatment with clonidine ER (Kapvay™) if your child has:
 
  • Low blood pressure (hypotension)
  • An irregular heart rhythm (arrhythmia)
  • A slow heart rate (bradycardia)
  • A history of fainting
  • Any allergies, including allergies to foods, dyes, or preservatives.
     
Also let your healthcare provider know if you are:
 
  • Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
  • Breastfeeding.
     
You should also make sure to tell the healthcare provider about any other medicines your child is taking, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
 
This article refers only to Kapvay, the clonidine ER version approved to treat ADHD. There is another clonidine ER medication (Nexiclon™ XR) approved for treating high blood pressure.
 

Specific Precautions and Warnings With Clonidine ER

Some warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to taking this drug include the following:
 
  • Clonidine ER decreases both the heart rate and blood pressure. For most children, these changes are too minor to cause any problems. However, this could cause problems for some children, especially in those who already have low blood pressure or a slow heart rate. Your child's healthcare provider should check your child's blood pressure and heart rate before starting the medication, after any dose increases, and periodically thereafter.
     
  • Clonidine ER often causes drowsiness. Make sure adolescents do not drive or operate heavy machinery until they know exactly how this medication will affect them.
     
  • People taking clonidine ER should not drink alcoholic beverages.
     
  • Clonidine ER should not be stopped suddenly, as this might cause dangerously high blood pressure (hypertension), a rapid heart rate (tachycardia), and other symptoms. When stopping this medication, you should gradually reduce the dosage.
     
  • Clonidine ER may potentially interact with several other medications (see Drug Interactions With Clonidine ER).
     
  • Clonidine ER is considered a pregnancy Category C medication. This means that it may not be safe for use during pregnancy, although the full risks are currently unknown. Make sure to talk with your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of using clonidine ER during pregnancy (see Kapvay and Pregnancy).
     
  • Clonidine ER passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start breastfeeding, make sure to talk with your healthcare provider about using clonidine ER (see Kapvay and Breastfeeding for more information).
     
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