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How Effective Is Clonidine for Hot Flashes?

B. Chisholm
B. Chisholm

While registered in some countries for this indication but not others, clonidine for hot flashes has been used effectively in many menopausal women. It is available usually by prescription only and is known by different trade names in different countries, according to the manufacturer. Clonidine is most commonly used to prevent migraines and vascular headaches and is available in the form of tablets and patches.

Menopause occurs in women as their hormone levels change later in life and they stop menstruating, signaling the end of the reproductive years. This usually occurs in the 50's but may start as early as the 30's. The period around menopause may be accompanied by numerous uncomfortable side effects including mood swings, changes in the body, including dryness, increased risk of heart disease and osteoporosis, disrupted sleep, and hot flashes.

Clonidine, which may help alleviate hot flashes, is usually a prescription-only medication.
Clonidine, which may help alleviate hot flashes, is usually a prescription-only medication.

The reason and mechanism for the hot flashes is not fully known. They can occur frequently and last for several minutes, making the woman hot, sweaty and uncomfortable. The hot flashes associated with menopause are the most common complaint and the one which causes most menopausal women to seek treatment. Many women choose to go onto hormone replacement therapy (HRT), but this may be contraindicated in some women. Clonidine for hot flashes may be used in these cases.

The mechanism of action of clonidine for hot flashes is not fully understood. It is thought to act on the blood vessels by slowing the flow of blood to the skin and stopping the stimulation of the sweat glands. This flushing and sweatiness would normally, in non-menopausal women, only occur when exercising or in the heat.

When using clonidine for hot flashes, it is vital to discuss any other medications or clinical conditions with the prescribing doctor. This includes over-the-counter, homeopathic and complementary medications as they may interact with the clonidine. In people with some clinical conditions, such as some cardiac problems, clonidine may be contraindicated.

As with any medication, using clonidine for hot flashes may cause adverse side effects in some patients. Most commonly experienced side effects include dry mouth, drowsiness and nausea. These may be worse at higher doses but tolerance usually develops after some time. Should any side effect be severe, it should be discussed with the prescribing doctor. Due to the possibility of drowsiness when using clonidine for hot flashes, it is not advisable to drive or operate heavy machinery while taking it.

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    • Clonidine, which may help alleviate hot flashes, is usually a prescription-only medication.
      By: roboriginal
      Clonidine, which may help alleviate hot flashes, is usually a prescription-only medication.