Clonidine Use for Detox & Addiction Recovery

Clonidine is a medication that can be safely used when prescribed by a doctor and taken as directed. In this article, you’ll learn:

  • What clonidine is, and what medical professionals prescribe it for.
  • How addiction treatment specialists use clonidine to help patients detox.
  • Potential clonidine side effects.

What Is Clonidine?

Clonidine is what’s known as a centrally acting adrenergic agonist medication. Its activity within the central nervous system has several cardiovascular effects, making it useful in the treatment of certain types of high blood pressure, but it also has a number of other medicinal uses.1,2

Immediate-release formulations of clonidine are typically used to treat hypertension but have also been shown to be useful for off-label purposes in helping individuals who are withdrawing from alcohol or opioid drugs.1,2

Clonidine helps to control some of the withdrawal symptoms associated with discontinuing these substances, and can help a person to remain abstinent in recovery.1,2

Kapvay (extended-release clonidine) is approved as an adjunctive treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) when used with psychostimulant medications such as Adderall, Ritalin, or Concerta.1,2

Clonidine is also used for a number of other purposes that include:1,2

  • Reducing cramping during the menstrual cycle in women.
  • Managing menopausal flushing.
  • Treating tics that occur with Tourette’s syndrome.
  • Aiding a person who is trying to quit smoking.
  • Treating chronic or acute pain in some individuals (e.g., clonidine epidural injection for severe cancer pain).
  • As a possible diagnostic aide for a condition known as pheochromocytoma, which is an adrenal gland tumor that can result in increased epinephrine and norepinephrine activity.

How Is Clonidine Used for Detox?

Medical professionals may use clonidine to help a patient manage certain unpleasant symptoms associated with opioid, alcohol, and nicotine cessation. Although it may not help reduce drug craving, using clonidine for detox is helpful in other ways, including:2,3

  • Lessening feelings of anxiety and agitation.
  • Easing muscle aches.
  • Lighten cramping.
  • Helping to alleviate a runny nose and sweating.

Does clonidine get you high? The short answer is no. Clonidine works by helping tamp down nervous system over-excitation, which can occur during opioid, alcohol, and nicotine withdrawal.2,3

Clonidine Side Effects

Just like any other medication, clonidine adverse effects can occur even when the medication is taken correctly.1

Common side effects of clonidine include:1

  • General feelings of weakness, fatigue, dry mouth, nervousness, and headache.
  • Nausea, vomiting, and/or constipation.
  • Symptoms similar to having a cold, such as headache, runny nose, sore throat, congestion, etc.
  • Issues with sexual functioning.

Less common effects include allergic reactions, which may manifest as:1

  • The development of a rash or hives.
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing.
  • Swelling in the face, tongue, lips, eyes, throat, hands, ankles, feet, or lower legs.
  • Becoming very hoarse.

Clonidine Warnings: Signs of an allergic reaction should be addressed immediately by discontinuing the medication and going to an emergency department or calling the prescribing physician if available for immediate medical guidance.1

Addiction Treatment & Detox Help in Mississippi

Don’t let the devastating effects of addiction go on for another day. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction and are ready to start the admissions process, call Oxford Treatment Center at .

A compassionate admissions navigator is available 24/7 to tell you more about our facility that offers both outpatient and inpatient drug and alcohol rehab in Mississippi. Several levels of addiction treatment are available to ensure everyone receives the right amount of support and care for their recovery needs.

We can answer your questions about rehab payment options and using insurance to pay for rehab. You can also quickly and confidentially now.

Please reach out and let us help you get the treatment you need today.


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