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Clonidine Extended-Release (Clonidine Hydrochloride) - Description and Clinical Pharmacology



Clonidine hydrochloride extended-release tablets are a centrally acting alpha2-adrenergic agonist available as a 0.1 mg extended-release tablet for oral administration. Each 0.1 mg tablet is equivalent to 0.087 mg of the free base.

The inactive ingredients are sodium lauryl sulfate, lactose monohydrate, hypromellose type 2208, partially pregelatinized starch, colloidal silicon dioxide, and magnesium stearate. The formulation is designed to delay the absorption of active drug in order to decrease peak to trough plasma concentration differences. Clonidine hydrochloride is an imidazoline derivative and exists as a mesomeric compound. The chemical name is 2-(2,6-dichlorophenylamino)-2-imidazoline hydrochloride. The following is the structural formula:

C9H9Cl2N3•HCl                     Mol. Wt. 266.56

Clonidine hydrochloride is an odorless, bitter, white, crystalline substance soluble in water and alcohol.


Mechanism of Action

Clonidine stimulates alpha2-adrenergic receptors in the brain. Clonidine is not a central nervous system stimulant. The mechanism of action of clonidine in ADHD is not known.


Clonidine is a known antihypertensive agent. By stimulating alpha2-adrenergic receptors in the brain stem, clonidine reduces sympathetic outflow from the central nervous system and decreases peripheral resistance, renal vascular resistance, heart rate, and blood pressure.


Single-dose Pharmacokinetics in Adults

Immediate-release clonidine hydrochloride and clonidine hydrochloride extended-release tablets have different pharmacokinetic characteristics; dose substitution on a milligram for milligram basis will result in differences in exposure. A comparison across studies suggests that the Cmax is 50% lower for clonidine hydrochloride extended-release tablets compared to immediate-release clonidine hydrochloride.

Following oral administration of an immediate release formulation, plasma clonidine concentration peaks in approximately 3 to 5 hours and the plasma half-life ranges from 12 to 16 hours. The half-life increases up to 41 hours in patients with severe impairment of renal function. Following oral administration about 40-60% of the absorbed dose is recovered in the urine as unchanged drug in 24 hours. About 50% of the absorbed dose is metabolized in the liver. Although studies of the effect of renal impairment and studies of clonidine excretion have not been performed with clonidine hydrochloride extended-release tablets, results are likely to be similar to those of the immediate release formulation.

The pharmacokinetic profile of clonidine hydrochloride extended-release tablets administration was evaluated in an open-label, three-period, randomized, crossover study of 15 healthy adult subjects who received three single dose regimens of clonidine: 0.1 mg of clonidine hydrochloride extended-release tablets under fasted conditions, 0.1 mg of clonidine hydrochloride extended-release tablets following a high fat meal, and 0.1 mg of clonidine immediate-release (Catapres®) under fasted conditions. Treatments were separated by one-week washout periods.

Mean concentration-time data from the 3 treatments are shown in Table 6 and Figure 1. After administration of clonidine hydrochloride extended-release tablets, maximum clonidine concentrations were approximately 50% of the Catapres maximum concentrations and occurred approximately 5 hours later relative to Catapres. Similar elimination half-lives were observed and total systemic bioavailability following clonidine hydrochloride extended-release tablets was approximately 89% of that following Catapres.

Food had no effect on plasma concentrations, bioavailability, or elimination half-life.

Table 6 Pharmacokinetic Parameters of Clonidine in Healthy Adult Volunteers
Clonidine Hydrochloride Extended-Release Tablets-Fed
Clonidine Hydrochloride Extended-Release Tablets-Fasted
Parameter Mean SD Mean SD MEAN SD
 Cmax (pg/mL)  443  59.6  235  34.7  258  33.3
 7313  1812  6505  1728  6729  1650
 hTmax (hr)  2.07  0.5  6.80  3.61  6.50  1.23
 T1/2 (hr)  12.57  3.11  12.67  3.76  12.65  3.56

Figure 1 Mean Clonidine Concentration-Time Profiles after Single Dose Administration

Figure 1 Mean Clonidine Concentration-Time Profiles after Single Dose Administration

Multiple-dose Pharmacokinetics in Children and Adolescents

Plasma clonidine concentrations in children and adolescents (0.1 mg bid and 0.2 mg bid) with ADHD are greater than those of adults with hypertension with children and adolescents receiving higher doses on a mg/kg basis. Body weight normalized clearance (CL/F) in children and adolescents was higher than CL/F observed in adults with hypertension. Clonidine concentrations in plasma increased with increases in dose over the dose range of 0.2 to 0.4 mg/day. Clonidine CL/F was independent of dose administered over the 0.2 to 0.4 mg/day dose range. Clonidine CL/F appeared to decrease slightly with increases in age over the range of 6 to 17 years, and females had a 23% lower CL/F than males. The incidence of "sedation-like" AEs (somnolence and fatigue) appeared to be independent of clonidine dose or concentration within the studied dose range in the titration study. Results from the add-on study showed that clonidine CL/F was 11% higher in patients who were receiving methylphenidate and 44% lower in those receiving amphetamine compared to subjects not on adjunctive therapy.


Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility

Clonidine HCl was not carcinogenic when administered in the diet of rats (for up to 132 weeks) or mice (for up to 78 weeks) at doses of up to 1620 (male rats), 2040 (female rats), or 2500 (mice) mcg/kg/day. These doses are approximately 20, 25, and 15 times, respectively, the maximum recommended human dose (MRHD) of 0.4 mg/day on a mg/m2 basis.

There was no evidence of genotoxicity in the Ames test for mutagenicity or mouse micronucleus test for clastogenicity.

Fertility of male or female rats was unaffected by clonidine HCl doses as high as 150 mcg/kg/day (approximately 3 times the MRDHD on a mg/m2 basis). In a separate experiment, fertility of female rats appeared to be adversely affected at dose levels of 500 and 2000 mcg/kg/day (10 and 40 times the MRHD on a mg/m2 basis).

Animal Toxicology and/or Pharmacology

In several studies with oral clonidine hydrochloride, a dose-dependent increase in the incidence and severity of spontaneous retinal degeneration was seen in albino rats treated for six months or longer. Tissue distribution studies in dogs and monkeys showed a concentration of clonidine in the choroid. In combination with amitriptyline, clonidine hydrochloride administration led to the development of corneal lesions in rats within 5 days.

In view of the retinal degeneration seen in rats, eye examinations were performed during clinical trials in 908 adult patients before, and periodically after, the start of clonidine therapy for hypertension. In 353 of these 908 patients, the eye examinations were carried out over periods of 24 months or longer. Except for some dryness of the eyes, no drug-related abnormal ophthalmological findings were recorded and, according to specialized tests such as electroretinography and macular dazzle, retinal function was unchanged.


The efficacy of clonidine hydrochloride extended-release tablets in the treatment of ADHD was established in 2 (one monotherapy and one adjunctive therapy) placebo-controlled trials in pediatric patients aged 6 to 17, who met DSM-IV criteria of ADHD hyperactive or combined hyperactive/inattentive subtypes. Signs and symptoms of ADHD were evaluated using the investigator administered and scored ADHD Rating Scale-IV-Parent Version (ADHDRS-IV) total score including hyperactive/impulsivity and inattentive subscales.

Study 1 was an 8-week randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, fixed dose study of children and adolescents aged 6 to 17 (N=236) with a 5-week primary efficacy endpoint. Patients were randomly assigned to one of the following three treatment groups: clonidine hydrochloride extended-release tablets (CLON) 0.2 mg/day (N=78), clonidine hydrochloride extended-release tablets 0.4 mg/day (N=80), or placebo (N=78). Dosing for the clonidine hydrochloride extended-release tablets groups started at 0.1 mg/day and was titrated in increments of 0.1 mg/week to their respective dose (as divided doses). Patients were maintained at their dose for a minimum of 2 weeks before being gradually tapered down to 0.1 mg/day at the last week of treatment. At both doses, improvements in ADHD symptoms were statistically significantly superior in clonidine hydrochloride extended-release tablets-treated patients compared with placebo-treated patients at the end of 5 weeks as measured by the ADHDRS-IV total score.

Study 2 was an 8-week randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, flexible dose study in children and adolescents aged 6 to 17 (N=198) with a 5-week primary efficacy end point. Patients had been treated with a psychostimulant (methylphenidate or amphetamine) for four weeks with inadequate response. Patients were randomly assigned to one of two treatment groups: clonidine hydrochloride extended-release tablets adjunct to a psychostimulant (N=102) or psychostimulant alone (N=96). The clonidine hydrochloride extended-release tablets dose was initiated at 0.1 mg/day and doses were titrated in increments of 0.1 mg/week up to 0.4 mg/day, as divided doses, over a 3-week period based on tolerability and clinical response. The dose was maintained for a minimum of 2 weeks before being gradually tapered to 0.1 mg/day at the last week of treatment. ADHD symptoms were statistically significantly improved in clonidine hydrochloride extended-release tablets plus stimulant group compared with the stimulant alone group at the end of 5 weeks as measured by the ADHDRS-IV total score.


Clonidine hydrochloride extended-release tablets are white, non-scored, standard convex with debossing ("651") on one side.

NDC 59212-660-60 – 0.1 mg round tablets supplied in bottles containing 60 tablets.

Store at 20°-25°C (68°-77°F) [see USP Controlled Room Temperature].

Dispense in a tight container.

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