Clonidine is a typical prescription drug that comes in the form of pills and skin patches. The FDA has authorized skin patches and short-acting clonidine tablets to treat high blood pressure, and long-acting clonidine tablets to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Short-acting and patch versions of clonidine are typically administered off-label to alleviate opiate withdrawal symptoms. The medication can also be used to treat alcohol withdrawal syndrome. Clonidine is not prohibited, unlike certain other pharmaceuticals used for medication-assisted therapy (MAT) during opioid detox.
Clonidine, according to doctors, acts on withdrawal symptoms due to its method of action in the brain. During opioid withdrawal, there is frequently an increase in noradrenergic neurotransmitters that stimulate the brain, resulting in withdrawal symptoms. Clonidine is an alpha-2 adrenergic agonist, which is a kind of drug. It inhibits the neurons that make noradrenergic neurotransmitters from releasing noradrenergic substances into the brain. Clonidine aids in preventing and treating withdrawal symptoms by inhibiting the chemicals that would otherwise cause them.
Administration & Dosage
According to experts, short-acting clonidine pills should be taken at a dose of 0.1 mg to 0.3 mg every six to eight hours as needed to prevent withdrawal symptoms, with a maximum dose of 1.2 mg daily.
Clonidine can be used in conjunction with other non-opioid medicines to reduce opioid withdrawal symptoms; however, it should not be used in conjunction with methadone or buprenorphine-based pharmaceuticals for MAT.
The side effects of Clonidine are usually mild. The most common ones are:
- Dry mouth
Other side effects include:
- Dry throat
- Insomnia Nausea
- Sexual dysfunction
- Change in taste
Clonidine, like many medications, has certain drug interactions. The following medications should be taken with caution or avoided when combined with clonidine.
- Central Nervous System depressants: Clonidine may exacerbate the adverse effects of sedating medicines such as alcohol, opioids, benzodiazepines, and barbiturates.
- Antipsychotics: Clonidine has the same adverse effects as antipsychotic medicines, such as low blood pressure, dizziness, and weariness. These adverse effects may be exacerbated if the drugs are used together.
- Some cardiac medicines: When coupled with clonidine, heart and blood pressure medications that affect heart rate may dangerously slow the heart. Digitalis, calcium channel blockers such as verapamil and diltiazem, and beta blockers such as metoprolol are examples of these drugs.