Does Clonidine Work for Opioid Withdrawal?

April 13, 2023

When it comes to treating opioid use disorder, clonidine is not used for long-term treatment, but it can help to alleviate some acute symptoms of withdrawal.

What symptoms does clonidine help treat?

  • Hot flashes
  • Sweating
  • Muscle pain
  • Nasal discharge (runny nose)
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability

How does clonidine work?

Unlike buprenorphine, clonidine is not an opioid agonist, meaning that it does not attach itself to opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord. Clonidine was originally developed to control high blood pressure. It releases norepinephrine, naturally found in the nervous system, from nerve cells. When a nerve cell releases norepinephrine, it is taken up by the next nerve in a chain, leading to muscle relaxation and lowered pain. For this reason, it is sometimes used alongside anesthetics to help with pain control.

Is clonidine used for long-term treatment?

Unlike buprenorphine, clonidine is not used for long-term treatment of opioid use disorder. It is typically given in the early stage of treatment to lessen the discomfort of withdrawal before Suboxone is started, or along with the first doses of Suboxone to help with any precipitated withdrawal symptoms.

Where can I get clonidine?

The QuickMD providers are well trained in treating patients with opioid use disorder and can help prescribe you adjunct medications like clonidine to help with the transition to Suboxone.

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