Objective: Recently clonidine has been used in opioid abstinence syndrome. It is proposed that, norepinephrine is involved in the expression of abstinence syndrome, and it depends upon the cerebral stores of these catecholamines. The effects of activation of locus coeruleus was demonstrated to produce changes that resembled those seen in opiate withdrawal. Hence this study was conducted to observe the effects of clonidine on acute opioid abstinence syndrome. Setting: Twenty healthy, opiate-dependent patients were selected randomly, who were seeking inpatient opioid abstinence treatment. This study was conducted in single blind protocol. Clonidine 300mcg/day was given. All patients completed the treatment program and stayed in the hospital for 10 days. Results: Clonidine showed a very rapid and highly significant decline in the objective signs and subjective symptoms of opiate withdrawal syndrome. Conclusion: Clonidine proved to be highly effective non-opioid treatment of acute opioid withdrawal syndrome. This observation indicates that opioid withdrawal syndrome may be due to increased neural activity in locus coeruleus, which is regulated by both alpha-2 adrenergic and opiate receptors.
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