What is Clonidine?
The prescribed medication of Clonidine (kloe' ni deen) is an adrenergic receptor agonist that stimulates certain brain receptors. An adrenergic receptor agonist is a type of drug that affects the body in the same way as adrenaline does. Because Clonidine was created as this type of drug, it focuses on the brain receptors that control catecholamine hormones which are part of the “fight or flight” hormonal release. The catecholamine hormones themselves are what the body releases into the adrenal glands in response to stress.
When taken as prescribed, Clonidine will create a negative loop by tricking the brain receptors into thinking that they have already created more than enough catecholamine (fight or flight hormones) which actually reduces the amount of adrenaline pumping through the body. When the body thinks it has too much adrenaline, a lower heart rate is maintained which decreases blood pressure.
Clonidine for Hyperactivity
Clonidine has been used as a treatment for hyperactivity in people diagnosed with ADHD due to its power in controlling the body’s use of adrenaline. The less adrenaline that the body has running through it, the lower the blood pressure which can ease bouts of hyperactivity and help keep the body running in a calmer state. Because the body retains an overall calmer and more relaxed functioning state it will also be able to sleep more soundly giving patients with ADHD much needed help when dealing with insomnia.
In 2002 The National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke supported a medical study that focused on Clonidine as an effective treatment for hyperactivity. The research was conducted through various medical universities throughout the United States, where the conclusion was that Clonidine worked at helping to control both hyperactivity and impulsivity. The medication was not good at treating distractibility and it was recommended that Clonidine be used as an additional treatment for those diagnosed with ADHD rather than it being the only medication. These Clonidine findings can be found through the institute’s main web site at: www.ninds.nih.gov
Because Clonidine works on the brains receptors to control the body’s flow of adrenaline there are a few issues that need to be kept in mind and discussed with your doctor when looking at this drug for treatment.
Clonidine should not be used on patients who have a history of heart related problems nor on patients who have low blood pressure to begin with. The use of this medication should be taken exactly as prescribed and not stopped without being monitored by your doctor. The consequences of a patient stopping this medication on their own can cause the body to react with hypertension, as the brain receptors will end up telling the body to produce a higher level of adrenaline than the body had produced prior to taking Clonidine.
Informational Sources: U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health
The National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke
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