What is Clonidine Withdrawal Like?

Picture of South Meadows Recovery
South Meadows Recovery
Our methodology:

At South Meadows Recovery, we employ a personalized, evidence-based approach to empower anyone to overcome addiction, regardless of their circumstances.

Written By:

Reviewed By:

Blog Categories:
Two round, peach-colored pills, one embossed with 'V' and the other with '2542' divided by a score line.

Clonidine is a medication commonly used to treat hypertension, but it also finds applications in managing conditions like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, opioid, alcohol, and nicotine dependence, and certain pain conditions. Despite its effectiveness, abrupt discontinuation of clonidine can lead to withdrawal symptoms, which can vary in intensity and duration. This article delves into the nature of clonidine withdrawal, exploring its symptoms, timeline, and available treatments.

What Causes Clonidine Withdrawal?

A person sitting in a serene room, looking thoughtfully out of a window, symbolizing the contemplative and healing journey during clonidine withdrawal treatment.

Clonidine withdrawal occurs when there is a sudden cessation of the drug, leading to an overactivity of sympathetic neurons. This results in widespread vasoconstriction and a rapid rise in blood pressure, a condition known as Clonidine rebound hypertension.

Symptoms of Clonidine Withdrawal

The symptoms of clonidine withdrawal can manifest in various ways, predominantly affecting the nervous system. Common symptoms include:

  • Depression or anxiety
  • Nervousness or agitation
  • Dizziness
  • Shivering
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Chronic migraines
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Increased heart rate

In some severe cases, symptoms like hypertensive encephalopathy and stroke may develop.

Timeline of Clonidine Withdrawal

The intensity and duration of clonidine withdrawal symptoms vary among individuals. Generally, the symptoms increase in severity during the first week following cessation and may last several weeks. The first symptoms typically appear approximately 12 hours after the last dose.

Treatment for Clonidine Withdrawal

Treatment for this withdrawal begins with a medical assessment to determine the patient’s current state. The primary approach involves gradually tapering off the dosage over 2-4 weeks. In some instances, additional medications like intravenous phentolamine may be used to control blood pressure spikes.

Detoxification programs are recommended to be carried out under medical supervision, either inpatient or through specialized home services. These programs may involve medical or holistic approaches, with the latter focusing on natural detoxification methods like a balanced diet.

The Importance of Medical Supervision

Given the potential severity of symptoms and the risk of complications like hypertensive crisis, it is crucial to undergo with this withdrawal under medical supervision. Professional treatment staff can provide round-the-clock care, ensuring safety and comfort, and reducing the risk of relapse.


Clonidine withdrawal can be a challenging process, but with the right medical guidance and a structured treatment plan, it is manageable. If you or someone you know is considering discontinuing clonidine, it is imperative to consult a healthcare professional for a safe and effective withdrawal plan.