A comparison of clonidine and buprenorphine in the outpatient treatment of opiate withdrawal

Michael I. Fingerhood, Michele R. Thompson, Donald R. Jasinski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The opiate withdrawal syndrome, although not life threatening, is a major obstacle in the treatment of opiate dependence. Over a 12 week period, 124 patients (63% female, 66% African American and mean age 32.6 years) underwent 5 day treatment for opiate withdrawal. Patients treated in the first 6 weeks (n = 69) received clonidine based treatment (0.1 mg every 6 h with one dose received on‐site each day and the others taken home), while patients treated in the latter 6 weeks (n = 65) received buprenorphine 0.3 mg IM daily. Both groups received supportive medications for diarrhea, cramps, aches, and nausea, had clonidine patches placed on day 4, and were offered naltrexone upon completion. Based on age, gender, and race the two treatment groups were similar. The completion rate was 75.4% for buprenorphine group and 47.5% for the clonidine group, p = .001. In conclusion, buprenorphine was superior to clonidine in enabling opiate dependent patients to successfully complete an outpatient detoxification program.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-199
Number of pages7
JournalSubstance Abuse
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2001


  • Buprenorphine
  • Clonidine
  • Opiate withdrawal
  • Outpatient treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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