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Clonidine (Molecule of the Month for September 1999)

Catapres (R)



Conidine is a drug which is primarily used as an antihypertensive agent, however it now sees widespread use in a number of other fields eg as an additive to anaesthetics.

Two of the most interesting uses for the drug though are in the treatment of alcohol and nicotine withdrawl and in the treatment of ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). For the treatment of ADD it has been found to reduce hyperactivity especially in children. However, tolerance can develop for the drug and can lead to withdrawl symptoms when taken off the drug. It is usually necessary to continue taking the drug for some time after the condition for which it was prescribed has been cured.

Clonidine is delivered as Clonidinehydrochloride and is an imidazoine derivative and a mesomeric compound. When administered clonidine is transported by lipids by bonding to albumin. About 50% of the oral dose is metabolised by minor pathways in the liver.

Clonidine is administered orally, by transdemal patch or by epidirial injection. It works by stimulating the alpha-adrenergeric receptors in the brain stem. This reduces the sympathetic outflows from the central nervous system leading to a decrease in peripheral resistance, renal vascular resistance and blood pressure (after 30 to 60mins) .

Formal Chemical Name (IUPAC)
2-(2,6-dichloro phenylamino)-2-imidazoline hydrochlorid

Picture of Clonidine

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Clonidine structure
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Picture of Clonidine



Update by Karl Harrison
(Molecule of the Month for September 1999 )