Case Report: Concurrent Clonidine Abuse and Opioid Use Disorder

J Psychoactive Drugs. Sep-Oct 2021;53(4):373-377. doi: 10.1080/02791072.2021.1908644. Epub 2021 Apr 5.

Abstract

Clonidine is a centrally acting alpha-2 selective adrenergic receptor agonist used to treat hypertension and to control or prevent withdrawal in patients with opioid and alcohol use disorders. Case reports describe abuse of clonidine alone or in combination with benzodiazepines, methadone, codeine, or heroin. Clonidine reportedly boosts and extends the opioid-related euphoria and reduces the amount of psychoactive drug needed. In this case report, we describe clonidine abuse and withdrawal management in an elderly patient with concurrent opioid use disorder. The usage of clonidine in the treatment of opioid detoxification remains controversial. Clonidine abuse is underestimated and requires more attention among health-care providers who concurrently prescribe clonidine and opioids. With the opioid epidemic becoming increasingly prevalent, physicians and other health-care providers must be vigilant in their opioid prescribing as well as concurrent prescribing of other psychoactive pharmacologic agents.

Keywords: Opioid use disorder; clonidine abuse; lofexidine; methadone; substance abuse.