A ‘sympatholytic’ (sympathetic nervous system suppressing) drug, clonidine works by activating alpha 2 adrenergic receptors in the brain and inhibiting norepinephrine release. Clonidine is used to treat a wide variety of disorders and conditions including high blood pressure, neuropathic pain, ADHD, night sweats, anxiety, alcohol and opioid withdrawal, restless leg syndrome, migraine and sleep disorders.
Clonidine May Help in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) Because
Many studies suggest enhanced sympathetic nervous system (SNS) activity and low blood volume is present and Clonidine is able to slow the SNS down and may be able to increase blood volume. Clonidine can also be helpful in treating several other conditions ME/CFS can be associated with such as migraine, restless leg syndrome, ADHD, anxiety, sleep issues and night sweats.
Clonidine Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) Studies
Clonidine increased cortisol and growth hormone release and enhanced cognition in a small 2002 study and reduced supine and standing blood pressure and heart rate in small pediatric five person 2012 study. Wyller reported that clonidine appeared to ‘normalize’ the responses his patients had to tilt table tests.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Doctors Report
Dr. Peter Rowe uses Clonidine to increase blood volume levels, to improve sleep and to assist with ADHD when present.
In his small 2012 study Wyller used a low dosage (50 μg clonidine twice per day (BID)). Rowe uses 0.05 mg at night for 3- 7 days for adolescents then increases to 0.1 mg at night.
Dr. Rowe noted the primary possible side effects are fatigue, light-headedness and dry mouth. Clonidine must be withdrawn slowly as rapid withdrawal can cause severe symptoms as the sympathetic nervous system attempts to reset itself.