Author: Gary Jackson

Clonidine Withdrawal Syndrome: Symptoms & Treatment

If you experience symptoms of clonidine withdrawal, seek treatment from a qualified medical professional. When getting AWS treatment as an outpatient, you will still have medical care, such as regular appointments with your treatment team and therapy sessions, but you will return home at night. If you are otherwise healthy, have the support of family or friends, and have a stable home life, you will probably do well with outpatient treatment. For withdrawal from shorter-term alcohol dependency and milder symptoms, outpatient treatment can be an equally effective, less constricting alternative. While benzodiazepine may be the most common and effective medication for treating AWS, clonidine can also play a critical role in the process.

Clonidine attenuates opiate withdrawal syndrome, via reduction in catecholamine activity in the brain, most probably at the locus ceruleus. Clonidine and locus ceruleus lesions, in animals with alcohol dependency as with the opiates, modify alcohol withdrawal. Both alcohol loading and withdrawal from steady alcohol use alter catecholamines in man and animals.

Potential Side Effects of Clonidine

AddictionResource aims to present the most accurate, trustworthy, and up-to-date medical content to our readers. Our team does their best for our readers to help them stay informed about vital healthcare decisions. Isaak learned addiction psychology at Aspen University and got a Master’s Degree in Arts in Psychology and Addiction Counseling. After graduation, he became a substance abuse counselor, providing individual, group, and family counseling for those who strive to achieve and maintain sobriety and recovery goals. While not as common as opioid or amphetamine addiction, clonidine addiction may occur.

  • He has a particular interest in psychopharmacology, nutritional psychiatry, and alternative treatment options involving particular vitamins, dietary supplements, and administering auricular acupuncture.
  • There are also now a number of medications that can make the process from addiction to withdrawals pass more comfortably.
  • Holistic detox involves getting rid of toxins naturally, without pharmaceuticals.
  • Also, if you have an existing heart condition or a kidney disease, your doctor will likely prescribe an alternate treatment.
  • In each case, the schedule depends on many factors, including the current dosage amount and how long the patient has taken the drug.

Apart from the duration of use and dosage amount taken, factors such as general physical health, social support, and general psychological health determine how the symptoms will manifest. The condition can get severe due to the risk of hypertensive crisis where the patient’s lowered blood pressure is instantaneously increased because of the cessation of the drug. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms may be treated with medications to reduce the prevalence of seizures, and other prescription drugs may be used to control other symptoms. Mayo Clinic advises those who take clonidine, even as prescribed, to limit their alcohol consumption since the blood pressure medication does affect the central nervous system, and effects like drowsiness will be enhanced. Mayo Clinic states that clonidine can lead to fainting, and when mixed with alcohol, those who use clonidine are at a greater risk of fainting. Headaches are a common side effect of using the two substances together as well.

How Long Does the Withdrawal Last?

Not all studies have found positive results when clonidine is compared to other medications for acute alcohol withdrawal. Robinson et al. randomized 32 alcohol inpatients to clonidine 0.3–0.9 mg or chlormethiazole 1000–3000 mg over 4 days.[20] Only 8 patients in the clonidine group completed the study compared to all 16 patients assigned to chlormethiazole. Patients in the clonidine group withdrew due either to adverse effects, with 3 patients developing symptomatic orthostatic hypotension, or lack of efficacy, with 2 patients experiencing seizures and 2 patients developing hallucinations. This was despite the fact that patients with major withdrawal symptoms or a history of alcohol withdrawal seizures were excluded from the trial. However, all 4 patients who experienced seizures or hallucinations had a history of severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms, indicating that clonidine alone may be ineffective for management of such patients. The higher incidence of orthostatic hypotension with clonidine in this study as compared to previous studies may be a reflection of the higher doses used.

clonidine for alcohol withdrawal