Adverse Effects

The major adverse effects of clonidine are dry mouth and sedation, which may diminish in intensity after several weeks of therapy. Sexual dysfunction and marked bradycardia may occur. These effects of clonidine frequently are dose-related; their incidence may be lower with transdermal administration of clonidine, which avoids the relatively high peak concentrations that occur after oral administration. About 15—20% of patients develop contact dermatitis when using clonidine in the transdermal system. Withdrawal reactions follow abrupt discontinuation of long-term therapy with clonidine in some hypertensive patients.

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