Hi Folks and welcome to my blog about opiate addiction. This is now my 18th post and I am proud to say my blog, number of followers, and topics are growing each day. This really provides a sense of success for myself and I am so happy I have the opportunity to help others while sharing my own experiences, thoughts, and stories while being to able to express myself. I can't say it enough, thank you guys!
I must admit, the ideas regarding what to write about on my blog are getting more and more challenging. I want to provide you guys with solid information, fresh topics, and things that many opiate addicts search for in their quest for sobriety. After doing some thinking, I came up with the idea to dedicate a few posts to specific drugs that may aid in opiate detox or recovery.
For this particular post, I would like to discuss the drug Clonidine. This drug is a high blood pressure medication that also has several off label uses, one being helping opiate withdrawal. The drug is supposed to help with symptoms such as high blood pressure, sweats, cold chills, restlessness, insomnia, and anxiety.
This drug is often considered one of the top medications to prescribe for patients undergoing opiate withdrawal and has been used in the addiction community for quite some time. As far as reviews go, they're pretty mixed. Some people swear by this drug when experiencing opiate withdrawal while others say it provides little to no relief. Then of course, there are many who feel somewhere in between. I am currently on the drug myself (more on that later) and would have to say that I'm one of those people who are somewhere in the middle when it comes to judging the effectiveness of Clonidine.
The inactive ingredients are colloidal silicon dioxide, corn starch, dibasic calcium phosphate, FD&C Yellow No. 6, gelatin, glycerin, lactose, and magnesium stearate. The Catapres (clonidine) 0.1 mg tablet also contains FD&C Blue No.1 and FD&C Red No.3.
Clonidine is a sympatholytic medication used to treat high blood pressure, anxiety/panic disorder, ADHD, migraines, drug withdrawal, sleep disorders, and certain pain conditions. The drug is commonly used for patients experiencing opiate withdrawal as it helps with many of the common symptoms that accompany withdrawal.
Clonidine can be administered in three ways; orally, injection, and transdermal. For those of you who don't know, transdermal is when the medication is prescribed as a patch, which is worn by the patient throughout the day or night. The patch then provides dosing throughout the day. This method of administration is usually only received under doctor supervision such as in the hospital or in a rehab facility so you'll be likely be dealing with the pills if you are partaking in a rehab or detox center program. Based on what I have read, injection of Clonidine is rarely used, especially for the treatment of opiate addiction.
- Fast or pounding heartbeats
- A very slow heart rate (fewer than 60 beats per minute)
- Feeling short of breath, even with mild exertion
- Swelling, rapid weight gain
- Confusion, hallucinations
- Fever, pale skin
- Urinating less than usual or not at all
- Numbness or cold feeling in your hands or feet
- Feeling like you might pass out
- Severe skin irritation, redness, swelling, burning, or blistering where the patch is worn.
Less serious clonidine side effects may include:
- feeling dizzy, drowsy, tired, or nervous
- dry mouth
- dry or burning eyes, blurred vision
- headache, muscle or joint pain
- nausea, vomiting, constipation, loss of appetite
- sleep problems (insomnia)
- urinating more at night
- mild skin rash or itching
- decreased sex drive, impotence
- skin rash, discoloration, or mild irritation where the patch is worn
"Clonidine is classed by the FDA as pregnancy category C. It is not known whether clonidine is harmful to an unborn baby. Additionally, clonidine can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Therefore, caution is warranted in women who are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding." -Physicians Total Care, Inc.
Suddenly stopping Clonidine after continued use can lead to rebound hypertension, meaning that your blood pressure may spike if you stop taking the Clonidine. Therefore, you should taper off of the Clonidine to avoid rebound hypertension. The following is from Wikipedia:
"Clonidine suppresses sympathetic outflow resulting in lower blood pressure, but sudden discontinuation can cause rebound hypertension due to a rebound in sympathetic outflow.
Clonidine therapy should generally be gradually tapered off when discontinuing therapy to avoid rebound effects from occurring. Treatment of clonidine withdrawal hypertension depends on the severity of the condition."
The following link provides several cases of patients who were prescribed Clonidine for opiate withdrawal. These cases are interesting as they deal with a variety of patients ranging from what the researchers describe as hardcore addicts, casual users, and everyone in between. When you click on the link, you will see three little pages near the top of the website. Each page comes from a study provided by PubMed. Simply click on any of these pages to read these cases about Clonidine. The link is below.
So, exactly how effective is Clonidine when it comes to going head to head with opiate withdrawal. There is no universal and definite answer to this question and it appears that the effectiveness of the drug varies based upon several factors such as the patient involved, his or her tolerance, their general health, the dose they are taking, the length of time they have been taking the medication, and more. I have read probably close to a hundred forums about the effectiveness of Clonidine and have talked to some addicts who have used Clonidine and still have no clear-cut answer for you guys. Some people swear by it while others find it little help. At the end of the day, I think it comes down to what does and doesn't work for the person using the medication. Some people may find this medication to do wonders for their withdrawals while others may notice little to no difference.