BMA Concise Guide to Medicine & Drugs


Brand name Physiotens

Used in the following combined preparations None


Drug group Antihypertensive drug

Overdose danger rating Medium

Dependence rating Low

Prescription needed Yes

Available as generic Yes


Moxonidine is an antihypertensive drug that is related to clonidine but is more selective and may therefore have fewer side effects. It works by stimulating alpha-receptors within the central nervous system, reducing the signals that constrict the blood vessels. Moxonidine also reduces resistance to blood flow in the peripheral blood vessels.

The drug is less likely than clonidine to cause dry mouth, and, unlike clonidine, has no effect on blood fat levels or glucose. However, other side effects, such as headache and dizziness, may still occur.


Your drug prescription is tailored for you. Do not alter dosage without checking with your doctor.

How taken/used Tablets.

Frequency and timing of doses Once daily in the morning (initially); 1–2 x daily.

Adult dosage range 200mcg daily initially; increasing after 3 weeks to 400mcg daily, if necessary; increasing again after a further 3 weeks to maximum of 600mcg daily in 2 divided doses if necessary.

Onset of effect 30–180 minutes.

Duration of action 12 hours.

Diet advice None.

Storage Keep in original container at room temperature out of the reach of children.

Missed dose Take as soon as you remember. If your next dose is due within 4 hours, take a single dose now and skip the next.

Stopping the drug Do not stop taking the drug without consulting your doctor, who will supervise a gradual reduction in dosage over a period of 2 weeks.

Exceeding the dose An occasional unintentional extra dose is unlikely to cause problems. Large overdoses may cause drowsiness and a fall in blood pressure.


Common side effects of moxonidine include dry mouth, headache, weakness, and fatigue. More rarely, the drug may cause dizziness, nausea, sleep disturbance, sedation, and a rash. Side effects that appear at the start of treatment often decrease in frequency and intensity during the course of treatment. Discuss with your doctor if any of the adverse effects are persistent or severe.


Other antihypertensives, thymoxamine, moxisylyte, and muscle relaxants These drugs may increase the blood-pressure-lowering effect of moxonidine.

Sedatives and hypnotics The effect of these drugs may be increased by moxonidine.

Tricyclic antidepressants The effects of these drugs may be increased by moxonidine.


Be sure to tell your doctor if:

· You have liver or kidney problems.

· You have heart problems, especially affecting your heart rhythm.

· You are taking other medicines.

Pregnancy Safety not established. Discuss with your doctor.

Breast-feeding Safety in breast-feeding not established. Discuss with your doctor.

Infants and children Not recommended.

Over 60 No special problems.

Driving and hazardous work Avoid such activities until you have learned how moxonidine affects you because the drug can cause drowsiness and dizziness.

Alcohol Avoid. Alcohol may increase the sedative effects of this drug.


No special problems.