Clonidine and naltrexone in the outpatient treatment of heroin withdrawal

Herbert D. Kleber, Mark Topazian, Joseph Gaspari, Charles E. Riordan, Thomas Kosten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


Abstract Clonidine hydrochloride (an alpha-2 adrenergic agonist) and naltrexone hydrochloride (an opioid antagonist), given in combination, provided a safe and effective treatment of abrupt opioid withdrawal over 5 days in an outpatient/day setting. Before starting the clonidine, a naloxone challenge test was used to verify and quantify opioid dependence, and the naloxone challenge test score was then used to determine initial medication doses. Initial naloxone challenge test scores predicted subsequent patient discomfort during the 5-day clonidine-naltrexone protocol. Twelve of 14 (86% heroin users successfully withdrew from opioids and simultaneously initiated naltrexone maintenance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalAmerican Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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