Clonidine is a centrally acting α2 adrenergic agonist and imidazoline receptor agonist used to treat high blood pressure, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety disorders, tic disorders, withdrawal (from either alcohol, opioids, or smoking), migraine, menopausal flushing, diarrhea, and certain pain conditions. Clonidine treats high blood pressure by stimulating α2 receptors in the brain, which decreases peripheral vascular resistance, lowering blood pressure. It has specificity towards the presynaptic α2 receptors in the vasomotor center in the brainstem. This binding decreases presynaptic calcium levels, thus inhibiting the release of norepinephrine (NE). It has also been proposed that the antihypertensive effect of clonidine is due to agonism on the I1 receptor (imidazoline receptor), which mediates the sympatho-inhibitory actions of imidazolines to lower blood pressure. Clonidines mechanism of action in the treatment of ADHD is to increase noradrenergic tone in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) directly by binding to postsynaptic α2A adrenergic receptors and indirectly by increasing norepinephrine input from the locus coeruleus. Clonidine indicated in the treatment of hypertension. Clonidine hydrochloride tablets may be employed alone or concomitantly with other antihypertensive agents. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved clonidine for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), under the trade name of Kapvay alone or with stimulants in 2010, for pediatric patients aged 6–17 years. NCATS
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