NZ Formulary

Clonidine (patch)


What does it do?

Clonidine is used to treat high blood pressure, severe pain, and sometimes other conditions.

How should you use it?

Use clonidine patches regularly as directed. Apply the patch to a clean, dry, hairless area of skin (such as the chest or upper arm) once a week. When you have removed the old patch, apply the new one in a different place to prevent irritating your skin. If the patch becomes loose, cover it with the clear sticky patch provided. Do not cut the patch.

What if you forget a dose?

If a patch comes off, replace it with a new one as soon as possible. If you are more than 3 days late changing your patch, tell your doctor right away.

Can you take other medicines?

Some medicines available without a prescription may react with clonidine including:

  • anti-inflammatories, such as diclofenac (e.g. Voltaren®), ibuprofen (e.g. Nurofen®), or aspirin (e.g. Disprin®, in doses used for pain relief). These can also be found in some cold and flu medicines (e.g. Nurofen Cold and Flu®).

Tell your pharmacist or doctor about all medicines or treatments that you may be taking, including vitamins, herbal products or recreational drugs.

Important information continues on next page.

What side effects might you notice?

Side EffectsRecommended action

Slow heartbeat

Tell your doctor immediately

Drowsiness, dizziness, tiredness or weakness, headache

Dry mouth, nausea, vomiting, constipation

Low mood

Changes in sexual function

Joint, muscle or bone aches and pains

Red or itchy skin where patch has been applied

Tell your doctor if troublesome

Lightheaded or dizzy after standing up

Stand up slowly. If it continues, or is severe, tell your doctor

If you notice any other effects, discuss them with your doctor or pharmacist.

Other information:

  • Tell your doctor if you have heart or kidney problems, diabetes, or depression.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding.
  • Do not stop using clonidine without talking to your doctor as this may cause a sudden increase in your blood pressure.
  • Clonidine can impair your ability to do tasks such as driving or using machines. Alcohol makes this worse. Discuss your risk with your health professional. (search NZTA - Are you safe to drive?)
  • Some procedures (e.g. MRI scan) may overheat the patch and burn your skin. Discuss with your health professional before your procedure.
  • Dispose of clonidine patches by folding the patch in half with the sticky sides together. Make sure to dispose of it out of the reach of children.