24 hours rehab

Call Now for Immediate Confidential Help and Advice 02038 115 619

24 hours rehab
Immediate Access for help and advice
24 hours rehab

Call Now for Immediate Confidential Help and Advice 02038 115 619

24 hours rehab
Immediate Access for help and advice

What is Clonidine?

Clonidine – known by a large number of brand names including Catapres, Kapvay, Nexiclon, Arkamin, Chianda, Clonigen, Dixarit, Hypodine, Melzin and literally dozens of others – is a drug which lowers blood pressure and which has been used medically since 1966 to treat a broad variety of conditions including withdrawal from various substances of abuse. Clonidine can be administered orally, epidurally, intravenously, via transdermal patch or as a topical cream or gel. In the UK it is a prescription-only medicine.

What is Clonidine Used to Treat?

Clonidine is used to treat high blood pressure, migraines, diarrhoea, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), tic disorders, anxiety disorders, menopausal flushing and various pain conditions.In the field of addiction treatment, clonidine is commonly used to alleviate certain withdrawal symptoms associated with dependence to alcohol, opioids, benzodiazepines and nicotine; it is also used in the treatment of neonatal abstinence syndrome (dependence in newborn babies whose mothers abused drugs – especially opioids – while pregnant).

Get Confidential Help Now

Call our admissions line 24 hours a day to get help.

UK Rehab

Why use Clonidine for Addiction Withdrawal

Clonidine is used to ease certain symptoms of withdrawal syndrome, in particular hot flashes, sweating, restlessness and watery eyes; it also has a sedative effect which can have benefits in terms of relaxing individuals going through withdrawal. Meanwhile, its ability to reduce blood pressure can make detoxification and withdrawal significantly safer in individuals suffering from hypertension and related conditions.

How do Medications for Addiction Treatment Work?

Clonidine works by stimulating certain receptors in the brain stem, which decreases vascular resistance (the resistance which needs to be overcome in order for bloods to be pushed through the circulatory system), thereby reducing blood pressure (though if clonidine is administered intravenously, blood pressure is temporarily increased before these effects take place). Clonidine also reduces sympathetic nervous system responses such as tachycardia, alleviating sweating, hot and cold flashes, and restlessness including restless leg syndrome.

Is Clonidine Effective at Treating Withdrawal Symptoms?

Clonidine can significantly reduce the severity of various withdrawal symptoms, making withdrawal and detoxification significantly less unpleasant and less arduous experiences. However, it does not tackle the underlying issue of withdrawal syndrome and should not be seen as a “cure” for withdrawal, let alone for addiction and dependence.

Principles of Effective Clonidine Addiction Treatment

If used in the treatment of addiction, clonidine should be administered as part of a broader addiction treatment plan (with therapy at its core) such as may be provided as part of a stay in residential rehabilitation (rehab): it is used to treat withdrawal symptoms, not addiction itself. Because of the possibility of various side-effects manifesting (see below), and because clonidine can itself prove habit-forming, it should only be taken in strict accordance with instructions given by the prescribing physician.

What are the Side Effects of Clonidine?

Some common side effects of clonidine include dry mouth, fatigue, headaches, hypertension, skin reactions, dizziness, anxiety, nausea and vomiting, rashes, constipation, weight gain or loss, erectile dysfunction and sedation. Less common side effects include hallucinations, nightmares, urticaria, pruritus, delusions, alopecia, gynaecomastia, hyperglycaemia and an impaired ability to cry.

UK Rehab

Clonidine is Most Effective when Combined with Addiction Therapy

As noted above, clonidine is not an effective treatment for addiction and dependence per se, but is used to alleviate some of the withdrawal symptoms which can make overcoming an addiction challenging. It should always be used as part of a broader approach to addiction treatment, founded on therapy: therapy (in a variety of models and methodologies) reveals and addresses the underlying causes of addiction in any given individual, and can provide that individual with psychological defence mechanisms against relapse.Clonidine may be prescribed as part of a monitored and managed detoxification (detox) process (which, again, may be part of a holistic addiction treatment plan delivered in rehab); again, however, detox alone without therapy is unlikely to lead to a permanent recovery, as it does not address the fundamental causes of addiction.

Ready to get Help for Your Addiction?

If you are struggling with addiction, only you can take the first step towards overcoming it: only if you are able to acknowledge your condition and ask for help will that help be effective.

Get help today

If you are at a point where you can admit your addiction and ask for help, that help is out there: there are a range of facilities working across the UK to treat and heal addicts. Speak with your GP and/or an addiction specialist about treatment options which may be most appropriate for your situation.

Take control of your life – get started on the road to recovery

You may feel you have lost control of your life to addiction – but it’s not too late to regain that control by seeking professional help. Speak with your GP and/or an addiction specialist and set out on the path back to a happy and healthy life.

Get Confidential Help Now

Call our admissions line 24 hours a day to get help.

Find alcohol and drug rehab clinics in your area

No matter where you live, there is a drug rehab center that can help you overcome your addiction. We'll help you find it.

Select a County
Get Confidential Help Now

Our trained addiction counsellors are
on hand 24 hours a day

Rehab treatment Centres

We’ll help you find help near you.

If you are experiencing problems as a result of your alcohol or drug use, or if you are drinking or using drugs to cope with existing problems, our National Addiction Treatment & Rehabilitation Directory contains over 700 addiction treatment services that may be able to help you when you decide to do something about them.

close help
Who am I contacting?

Calls and contact requests are answered by admissions at

UK Addiction Treatment Group.

We look forward to helping you take your first step.

02038 115 619