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J Addict Dis. 2003;22(4):13-25.

The use of tramadol for acute heroin withdrawal: a comparison to clonidine.

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Department of Family Medicine, University Hospitals of Cleveland and Cleveland VA Medical Center, 11000 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA.


Using a retrospective chart review, 59 patients detoxified with tramadol were compared to 85 patients detoxified with clonidine on rates of leaving against medical advice (AMA) and control of withdrawal symptoms. Patients detoxified with tramadol had 23% (95% CI, 0.09-0.59; P < .01) the risk of leaving AMA and scored an average of 0.24 points lower (95% CI, 0.08-0.41; P < .01) on a 0-3 point withdrawal symptom scale compared to patients detoxified with clonidine. This preliminary study indicates that tramadol is more effective in managing withdrawal than clonidine, and may be especially useful in outpatient detoxification.

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