Clonidine & Opioid Withdrawal

Opioid withdrawal can be a very unpleasant, intense, and possibly dangerous process. However, there are many tools out there that are used to help relieve the symptoms of withdrawal. Some of these tools include prescription medications such as Clonidine.

An Introduction to Clonidine

Clonidine is a prescription medication that belongs to the ‘centrally acting alpha-agonist’ category of drugs. It comes in the form of a patch, an oral tablet, and an extended-release oral tablet. Clonidine is available as both a generic and brand-name prescription. The brand-named version, Kapvay, comes in the form of an extended-release tablet. Common side effects of Clonidine may include irritability, upper respiratory infection, trouble sleeping, nightmares, dry mouth, dry eyes, dizziness, stomach pain, constipation, headache, sedation, and more.


Clonidine Uses

This prescription works by slowing the heart rate and relaxing blood vessels. Clonidine can also impact behavior, improve mood, and regulate emotions. Clonidine is typically prescribed to treat diseases such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and high blood pressure. Additionally, it has been proven successful in relieving symptoms of opioid withdrawal. Clonidine has increasingly been used as a part of combination therapy in rehabilitation facilities.


Opioid Withdrawal: Symptoms and Side Effects

Withdrawal symptoms of opioid addiction typically begin within the first 24 hours of not using the drug. They can be very uncomfortable, but are usually not fatal. If you or someone you love begins to experience these withdrawal symptoms, it’s encouraged to contact a hospital or rehabilitation facility as soon as possible. Initial side effects may include:

● Muscle aches
● Restlessness
● Anxiety
● Tearing eyes
● Runny nose
● Sweating
● Inability to sleep

These symptoms should not last for more than one day. Side effects may change and/or intensify after 24 hours. Later symptoms of withdrawal include:

● Diarrhea
● Cramping
● Goosebumps
● Nausea/vomiting
● Dilated pupils
● High blood pressure
● Rapid heart beat


How Does Clonidine Help With Withdrawal Symptoms?

Primarily, Clonidine can help slow down the heart rate. Besides that, Clonidine is especially effective at reducing withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, cramping, muscle aches, restlessness, tears, sweating, and runny nose.

Clonidine is usually used to treat withdrawal symptoms in inpatient settings and is often utilized by rehabilitation centers. While Clonidine may not be able to curb cravings, the medication could help reduce the intensity of some opioid withdrawal symptoms by about 50-75%.


Withdrawal Treatment and Management

If you are currently using opioids and are experiencing negative side effects or signs of dependence, it may be time to stop using the medication. Do not stop taking Clonidine without discussing it with your doctor first.

Someone who is withdrawing from opioids should undergo detox in a rehabilitation environment. The specialists at the rehab will determine which type of treatment is best for each individual. In some severe withdrawal cases, medications like Clonidine may be necessary.

Withdrawal is a very complicated issue, but it can be much more successful with the right team and support system by your side. At Silver Pines Treatment Center, our sister company, we offer detox treatment in a drug-free and comfortable environment. Learn more about our treatment methods for opioid withdrawal and addiction by visiting our Detox Service Page or contacting us at 267.209.7312.