Category: Pharmacology & Therapeutics
Keywords: Clonidine, opioid withdrawal (PubMed Search)
Clonidine is an alpha-2 agonist commonly used to treat hypertension. Clonidine can also be used to mitigate symptoms of opioid withdrawal as it easily crosses the blood brain barrier and reduces sympathetic effects.
When using clonidine for acute withdrawal or blood pressure control, oral tablets are the preferred route. Clonidine transdermal patches have slow absorption and take 2-3 days for the effect to be seen. Once removed, clonidine patches can provide therapeutic levels for up to 20 hours.
Bottom Line: If clonidine is needed acutely for your patient, select oral tablets and titrate to effect.
Catapres-TTS [package insert] Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Ridgefield, CT, August 2016.