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Can You Mix Alcohol & Clonidine (Catapres)?

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Clonidine, known by its brand name Catapres, is a medication primarily used to manage high blood pressure. Like many medications, clonidine has side effects that are enhanced when mixed with alcohol.

If you or someone you care about is mixing alcohol with Clonidine or another substance, Guardian Recovery can help. We will work with you to develop an individualized and effective program to help you recover from addiction and get you on the road to long-term recovery. We believe in the benefits of a full curriculum of clinical care, beginning with medical detoxification, transitioning into a higher level of treatment, and concluding with personalized aftercare planning. Contact us today to learn more about our treatment options in your area.

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Symptoms & Side Effects Caused by Clonidine Use

Clonidine might cause drowsiness, dry mouth, and constipation. It may also lower your heart rate.

Common side effects of Clonidine include:

  • Drowsiness — Many people taking Clonidine report feeling drowsy or fatigued. This is because Clonidine slows down the activity of the central nervous system.
  • Dry Mouth and Eyes  — Clonidine can reduce the production of saliva and tears, leading to dryness in the mouth and eyes.
  • Constipation  — Some people may experience changes in their bowel movements, typically resulting in constipation.
  • Dizziness  — Because of its blood pressure-lowering properties, Clonidine can sometimes make people feel dizzy, especially when standing up quickly.
  • Decreased Sexual Desire  — Some individuals might experience a decrease in sexual desire or ability to have or keep an erection.

Less common, but more severe side effects can include:

  • Slow heart rate or irregular heartbeat.
  • Low blood pressure
  • Mental health changes, like confusion, hallucinations, or difficulty understanding what is happening around you.
  • Allergic Rreactions.

Is it Safe to Drink Alcohol While Taking Clonidine?

Combining alcohol with Clonidine can be dangerous because both lower blood pressure, which could lead to an unsafe drop in blood pressure or heart rate. This combination can also increase the drowsiness and dizziness associated with both substances, making activities like driving or operating heavy machinery extremely dangerous.

Combining clonidine with alcohol has the potential for stroke, coma, heart attack, or death. People who use the two substances together are also more likely to experience seizures.

Does Alcohol Increase the Side Effects of Clonidine?

Some people like to mix alcohol and Clonidine because the medication enhances the effects of alcohol. Both have depressant effects on the central nervous system, meaning they can slow brain activity and decrease physical and mental alertness.

Both can also lower blood pressure and slow heart rate. When combined, these effects can be amplified, which may cause an unsafe drop in blood pressure or a dangerously slow heart rate.

Consuming alcohol can interfere with the effectiveness of Clonidine potentially worsening the medical conditions the medication is intended to treat, such as high blood pressure or ADHD.

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What Should Be Avoided When Taking Clonidine?

  • Besides alcohol, it’s important to avoid certain other medication and situations, including:
  • Certain Medications — Tricyclic antidepressants, calcium channel blockers, and certain barbiturates.
  • Abrupt Discontinuation  — Suddenly stopping Clonidine can lead to a rapid rise in blood pressure, a condition known as rebound hypertension. 
  • Dehydration and Overheating  — Clonidine may cause you to sweat less, making you more prone to heat stroke and dehydration.
  • Dangerous Activities  — Clonidine can cause drowsiness or dizziness, which may impair your ability to drive or operate machinery safely.

Should Alcohol Be Avoided When Taking Medications for Hypertension?

Alcohol can interfere with the effectiveness of blood pressure medicines and potentially increase their side effects. It can also raise your blood pressure, which might negate the benefits of the medication.

For instance, alcohol can interact with certain blood pressure medications and affect the level of the medication in the body or increase side effects, according to Mayo Clinic

Drinking alcohol while taking high blood pressure medication might worsen low blood pressure and cause side effects like dizziness. Mixing beta-blockers, a type of blood pressure medication, with alcohol as it can lead to dangerously low blood pressure.

It’s always best to discuss your alcohol consumption with your healthcare provider, who can provide advice based on your current health condition and the specific dosage and duration of your hypertension treatment.

How Long Should You Wait After Taking Clonidine to Consume Alcohol?

The specific timeframe to wait after taking Clonidine to consume alcohol isn’t typically outlined in medical sources. This is largely because the duration can depend on various factors such as the dose of Clonidine, the individual’s metabolism, and their overall health status.

However, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) warns against mixing alcohol with Clonidine and alcohol and other prescription medications with alcohol.

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Reviewed professionally for accuracy by:

Ryan Soave


Ryan Soave brings deep experience as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, certified trauma therapist, program developer, and research consultant for Huberman Lab at Stanford University Department of Neurobiology. Post-graduation from Wake Forest University, Ryan quickly discovered his acumen for the business world. After almost a decade of successful entrepreneurship and world traveling, he encountered a wave of personal and spiritual challenges; he felt a calling for something more. Ryan returned to school and completed his Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling. When he started working with those suffering from addiction and PTSD, he found his passion. He has never looked back.

Written by:

Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark grew up in Santa Barbara, CA and graduated from UCLA with a degree in playwriting. Since then she has been writing on addiction recovery and psychology full-time, and has found a home as part of the Guardian Recovery team.

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