Clonidine is a centrally acting alpha-adrenergic agonist. Central alpha activation reduces sympathetic outflow. Clonidine decreases the vibratory inhibition index in spinal cord patients58 and reduces muscle tone in brain-injured patients (stroke, trauma, hematoma, CP).59
Clonidine is used mainly to treat hypertension. It also can reduce symptoms of opiate withdrawal, impulsivity in children, and other behavioral problems. It can be effective as a supplement to baclofen60 but rarely is used alone to treat spasticity.
Clonidine does not have FDA approval as an antispasticity drug. It is available in 0.1-mg tablets, the usual starting dose. The usual dose for hypertension is 0.2 to 0.6 mg per day.
The Catapres patch (0.1 mg and 0.2 mg) is designed to deliver the specified dose daily and must be changed every 7 days.
Side effects include bradycardia, hypotension, dry mouth, drowsiness, constipation, dizziness, and depression.23
Reviewed and revised May 2004 by Steven C. Schachter, MD, epilepsy.com Editorial Board.
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