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J Subst Abuse Treat. 1995 Jan-Feb;12(1):35-41.

Clonidine and opiate receptor antagonists in the treatment of heroin addiction.

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  • 1Drug Addiction Service-Parma, Italy.


Good results in detoxification methods have been reached using both together clonidine and opiate receptors antagonists. One hundred fifty-two heroin-abusing patients were studied evaluating withdrawal symptoms after therapy with (a) clonidine only, (b) clonidine and naltrexone, (c) clonidine and naloxone, and (d) placebos. Treatment results, emotional and behavioral changes, and involvement in psychosocial programs were evaluated after a 6-month follow-up. Although opiate antagonists were able to induce slight and transient withdrawal signs and symptoms, there was, in the group of patients treated with clonidine and naltrexone together, a low percentage of catabolites in urine and an improvement in mood and family relationships. Furthermore, the patients that underwent longer naltrexone treatment showed a stronger involvement in psychosocial programs, and even their relatives demonstrated more interest in the recovery program. A decrease in the difficulties of accepting an opiate antagonists treatment and a different evaluation of withdrawal syndrome were the results of an early use of naltrexone.

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