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Efficacy of clonidine in treatment of alcohol withdrawal state


Clonidine hydrochloride 5 μg/kg and placebo were given orally to 11 patients experiencing well-developed alcohol withdrawal states. Active drug and placebo were given in a randomised, cross-over double blind fashion 2 h apart. Clonidine significantly suppressed heart rate (P=0.002), arterial blood pressure (P=0.006), and an accumulated score of withdrawal symptoms and signs (P=0.004). These data suggest that clonidine may be useful in the management of alcohol withdrawal states, and that the underlying pathophysiology of at least some of these manifestations may be sympathetic nervous system hyperactivity.

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Wilkins, A.J., Jenkins, W.J. & Steiner, J.A. Efficacy of clonidine in treatment of alcohol withdrawal state. Psychopharmacology 81, 78–80 (1983).

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Key words

  • Clonidine
  • Alcohol withdrawal
  • Man