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What are the Uses of Clonidine for ADHD?

Autumn Rivers
Updated Feb 23, 2024
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One of the most common uses of clonidine is to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. It is usually only used if stimulants, which are more commonly used for treatment, do not work. Most people use clonidine for ADHD symptoms like impulsivity and hyperactivity. On the other hand, it can also be used to reduce secondary symptoms that only some patients get, such as insomnia, irritability, aggression, and fidgeting. Since these are often also side effects of stimulants, such as methylphenidate or dextroamphetamine, most patients need to use both stimulants and clonidine for ADHD.

A common symptom of ADHD is hyperactivity, which can interfere with the daily routine of most patients. For example, children who have trouble sitting still often do not do well in the classroom, while adults with the same issue may not be able to work at the typical desk job. Therefore, they may opt to use clonidine for ADHD, as it can help them calm down. Impulsivity is another common symptom that usually needs to be treated in order for patients to lead a normal life, as making rash decisions can negatively affect them. Clonidine, however, does not usually have an effect on inattention or short attention spans, which is why stimulants also often need to be taken simultaneously.

Most people with ADHD are prescribed stimulants to relieve most of the symptoms of this condition. Unfortunately, this type of drug usually comes with side effects that need to be addressed with other medications. For example, most people taking stimulants experience insomnia, which often leads them to either discontinuing the drug, or suffering from lack of sleep. For this reason, many doctors also prescribe clonidine for ADHD, as it is known for helping patients sleep. In fact, sleepiness is one of its main side effects, which may bother those taking it to relieve high blood pressure while helping those taking it for ADHD.

Those not suffering from insomnia may be hesitant to take clonidine for ADHD symptoms like hyperactivity and impulsivity, but the good news is that this side effect can be tempered. For instance, taking the drug at bedtime is a good way to avoid drowsiness during the day while relieving hyperactivity. This drug should also be taken in small, frequent doses in order to reduce the chances of drowsiness. It should be noted by those opting to take clonidine for ADHD that the drug typically takes about a month to have any effect on impulsivity and hyperactivity.

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Autumn Rivers
By Autumn Rivers
Autumn Rivers, a talented writer for WiseGeek, holds a B.A. in Journalism from Arizona State University. Her background in journalism helps her create well-researched and engaging content, providing readers with valuable insights and information on a variety of subjects.
Discussion Comments
By anon987850 — On Feb 06, 2015

Clonidine makes my child crazy aggressive and nasty. He was never like that before. A similar think happened when he trled Kapvey.

By SteamLouis — On Dec 16, 2013

I'm not an expert on this topic but I think that clonidine works differently for everyone. For most people, it has to be used with other ADHD meds to work; but in rare cases, it may work better alone. I think some trial and error is necessary.

By burcinc — On Dec 15, 2013

@literally45-- I have never had that problem with clonidine for ADHD, but I'm an adult.

Clonidine works well for me. It counters the negative side effects of my other ADHD medication. It doesn't help me concentrate, but it does calm me down. I also had trouble sleeping and taking clonidine before I go to bed has solved that problem. I don't have any issues when I wake up, I feel absolutely fine.

By literally45 — On Dec 15, 2013

I have no idea if clonidine alone works well for ADHD in children, but it doesn't work too well when it's used along with stimulant medications. At least, this has been the case with my son.

He was taking a stimulant during the day and then clonidine at night. After a few days on the medication however, he became very aggressive and argumentative. I'm certain that it's the clonidine because he was not like this before. I'm not sure why, but clonidine makes him very upset, moody and aggressive in the mornings. So we had to take him off of it.

Autumn Rivers
Autumn Rivers
Autumn Rivers, a talented writer for WiseGeek, holds a B.A. in Journalism from Arizona State University. Her background in journalism helps her create well-researched and engaging content, providing readers with valuable insights and information on a variety of subjects.
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