Clonidine treatment of neonatal narcotic abstinence syndrome

Psychiatry Res. 1984 Nov;13(3):243-51. doi: 10.1016/0165-1781(84)90039-8.


Clonidine hydrochloride, an alpha 2-adrenergic agonists, was used to treat seven infants who were passively addicted to narcotics because of maternal methadone maintenance. In six of seven infants, the major symptoms of narcotic withdrawal were ameliorated after a total daily oral dose of 3-4 micrograms/kg/day was achieved. One infant failed to respond. No toxic side effects of clonidine were observed at the dosage level used. The results of this pilot study suggest that clonidine may be a safe therapeutic agent for the treatment of neonatal narcotic abstinence syndrome (NNAS). Clonidine treatment of NNAS remains strictly investigational at this time. The relative efficacy and safety of clonidine versus other currently used drug regimens for NNAS also remains to be determined.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Clonidine / blood
  • Clonidine / therapeutic use*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Methadone / adverse effects*
  • Narcotics / adverse effects*
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / drug therapy*


  • Narcotics
  • Clonidine
  • Methadone