Pharmacologic therapy for heroin addiction has focused on ameliorating withdrawal symptoms and reducing cravings. By replacing heroin with legally obtained opioid agonists, many risk factors of the drug-abusing lifestyle can be mitigated. Because overdoses usually occur in the presence of other people and because medical care is often not sought or is sought too late, at-home naloxone programs have been piloted in several countries. This is a controversial treatment that raises concerns about condoning heroin use, discouraging medical care, and producing side effects that cannot be managed at home. However, the efficacy of these pilot programs should be carefully monitored, as the potential for reducing mortality is high. In 1996, community-based programs began offering naloxone and other opioid overdose prevention services to persons who abuse opioids, their families, and friends, and service providers .

A medical provider will consider a person’s withdrawal symptoms when deciding when to discontinue this medication gradually. Currently, Lucemyra can only be used in people over the age of 18, although it is being studied to see if it may be safe in a younger population . A relatively new FDA-approved medication, Lucemyra , is the only non-opiate medication available that supports people through withdrawal.

lucemyra vs clonidine

Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. You may wonder how Lucemyra compares to other medications that are prescribed for similar uses. Here we look at how Lucemyra and clonidine are alike and different. Drug company price gouging for a “me too” drug for the most desperate and vulnerable of patients.

Memantine is a noncompetitive NMDA receptor antagonist used primarily in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. In rodents, it has been shown to interfere with morphine-conditioned place preference. Studies in humans have demonstrated a slight decrease in cravings without impacting the reinforcing effects of heroin. These results were found using memantine at doses of 30 and 60mg. These drugs can attenuate many symptoms of withdrawal, including nausea, vomiting, sweating, cramps, and diarrhea. Clonidine and lofexidine will not, however, reduce drug craving.


Your risk for heart problems caused by Lucemyra is greater if you have liver or kidney problems. Talk with your doctor about your liver and kidney health to find out if Lucemyra is safe for you. To help make sure you don’t miss a dose, try setting a reminder in your phone. You should take Lucemyra according to your doctor’s or healthcare provider’s instructions. US WorldMeds LLC, the manufacturer of Lucemyra, offers the LUminate Support Program, which may be able to help lower the cost of your prescription. For more information and to find out if you’re eligible for support, visit the program website.

  • Lofexidine is a new, FDA-approved opioid withdrawal medication.
  • If you have low blood pressure, talk with your doctor to find out if Lucemyra is safe for you.
  • Lofexidine’s oral bioavailability is about 90%, with extensive oral absorption.
  • In 2017, the FDA approved a once-monthly SC injection for opioid use disorder .

At The Haven New England, our medical providers are highly experienced at helping clients undergo treatment for opiate addiction most comfortably and safely possible, using medications like Lucemyra and others. Currently, Lucemyra gets used exclusively to help people with opioid use disorder manage the withdrawal period. Lofexidine is a centrally-acting sympatholytic and has been shown to cause dose-related hypotension averaging about 10 mm Hg, although this is typically not clinically significant. Zubsolv (buprenorphine/naloxone) is used to treat opioid use disorder. Find out what the recommended dosages are, how to take the drug, and more. Both drugs are used as part of a complete treatment program, which may include counseling, support groups, and other medications.

Other interactions can increase side effects or make them more severe. Repeated use of opioid drugs decreases the amount of norepinephrine that’s released in your body and brain. Therefore, these medications can cause different side effects. Lucemyra and clonidine are both available as brand-name drugs. There are currently no generic forms of Lucemyra, but clonidine is available as a generic. Build, predict & validate machine-learning models Use our structured and evidence-based datasets to unlock new insights and accelerate drug research.

Medical Care

Study findings support the development of a detoxification regimen of ascending doses of oral naltrexone for transitioning opioid-dependent patients seeking induction onto XR-naltrexone for the prevention of relapse. A randomized, placebo-controlled trial suggested that an injectable, sustained-release form of naltrexone increased retention of patients in treatment for opioid abuse. Further studies are necessary to evaluate the efficacy of this treatment modality.

Methadone, buprenorphine, and alpha-2 agonists, such as clonidine and lofexidine, are commonly used pharmacologic methods of detoxification. The use of methadone and buprenorphine is based on the principle of cross-tolerance in which one opioid is replaced with another and then slowly withdrawn. Alpha-2 agonists appear to be most effective in suppressing autonomically mediated signs and symptoms of abstinence, but they are less effective for subjective symptoms. Four implants (80 mg/implant of buprenorphine HCl) are inserted in the upper arm for 6 months of treatment and removed by the end of the sixth month.

  • Most of these side effects may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks.
  • It is expected that an overdose of lofexidine would result in symptoms akin to its pharmacological side effects in humans, such as bradycardia and hypotension.
  • Opiate withdrawal symptom treatment should be discussed with healthcare providers before a medical detox.
  • Therefore, although similar to lofexidine, clonidine is most frequently prescribed to treat high blood pressure.
  • There are many reasons for this lack of access to medication.

In the group assigned to medically supervised withdrawal, no one stayed in treatment and 20% were dead at the end of the year. In contrast, in the group assigned to buprenorphine, 75% were abstinent and no one died. These are dramatic differences calling into question any practice of medically supervised withdrawal as an effective intervention for opioid use disorder. While Lucemyra may be administered as part of an outpatient or inpatient detox program, moderate to severe opioid dependence and addiction are often better treated in an inpatient setting.

Clonidine, lofexidine, and similar medications for the management of opioid withdrawal

Opioids such as prescription painkillers, heroin, and even the synthetic opiate medications that treat opiate addiction, hold countless people—and their loved ones—in their grasp. As a mental illness, opioid addiction spares no gender, race, or socioeconomic class. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , 136 people die every day from an opioid overdose. Though lofexidine is able to reduce several opioid withdrawal symptoms, other medications may be considered to treat headaches and muscle aches. A review of all randomized trials comparing lofexidine with clonidine in patients suffering opioid withdrawal have shown the reduction of withdrawal symptoms are the same. For these patients, utilizing a drug like Lucemyra or clonidine to manage withdrawal until the patient can receive extended-release naltrexone treatment can prevent relapse and also prevent unintended precipitated withdrawal.

For this reason, people who have a condition known as long QT syndrome should talk with their medical provider before considering Lucemyra for opiate withdrawal management. It is also prudent to consider any other blood pressure medications or heart medications that a person may get prescribed when considering Lucemyra to help with opioid withdrawal symptoms. Compared to no medication or a placebo, both lofexidine and clonidine are more effective at relieving withdrawal symptoms. However, being better than no treatment is not exactly a winning endorsement. The real question is whether lofexidine is better than standard of care treatment with medications like buprenorphine or methadone. Buprenorphine and methadone are both opioid agonists, meaning they exert activity at the same receptor that all opioids do.

  • Due to this, this medication doesn’t hold the potential for drug diversion, misuse, and abuse that widely used opioid medications for withdrawal, Suboxone and methadone, do.
  • Studies of high-dose, single administrations of lofexidine proved tolerable for animals, but repeat administration induced symptoms consistent with toxicity.
  • Seven patients were initiated on naltrexone and 2 patients on buprenorphine.
  • It’s important to note, however, that Lucemyra does not completely get rid of withdrawal symptoms.

The usual starting dosage of Lucemyra for opioid withdrawal is three tablets (0.54 mg) taken four times a day. This will likely be your dose for the first 5 to 7 days of treatment . If you or someone you love are struggling with an addiction to opioids or heroin, All In Solutions Counseling Center offers medication-assisted treatment programs that can help. These MAT programs are available for inpatient and outpatient clients at our Florida rehab and our New Jersey rehab. It was written based on peer-reviewed medical research, reviewed by medical and/or clinical experts, and provides objective information on the disease and treatment of addiction .

Lofexidine vs. Clonidine for Opiate Withdrawal?

Of those treated with lofexidine versus clonidine, respectively, 63% vs. 21% were opioid-free at one month, and better success rates were also observed with lofexidine at six months. These results show that lofexidine was more effective at mitigating withdrawal symptoms and supporting patients’ transition to long-term recovery with continued management, including extended-release naltrexone in this practice. Less common side effects that have been reported include fainting (which occurs in less than 1% of people taking Lucemyra) and ringing in the ears (which also occurs in less than 1% of people taking Lucemyra). Additionally, an abnormal heart electrical pattern has also been observed in people taking Lucemyra, which can be dangerous or even fatal.

lucemyra vs clonidine

Choosing a residential program that offers both services on site can ease the stress of transitioning from one program to the next. Because decision-making deficits are common, individuals with more prominent deficits may particularly benefit from treatment in a residential setting. Lofexidine’s oral bioavailability is about 90%, with extensive oral absorption. Peak plasma concentrations occur at 3 hours after a single administration, with a half-life of 11 hours. Lofexidine is extensively metabolized by the liver, and primarily cleared by the kidney.

Elena Hill, MD; MPH received her MD and Masters of Public Health degrees at Tufts Medical School and completed her family medicine residency at Boston Medical Center. She is currently an attending physician at Bronxcare Health Systems in the Bronx, NY where she works as a primary care physician as well as part time in pain management and integrated health. Her clinical interests include underserved health care, chronic pain and integrated/alternative health.

The effects of drugs that inhibit the NMDA receptor, such as ketamine and memantine, may decrease opioid-induced tolerance. The findings support prior evidence that lofexidine has comparable efficacy to methadone in ameliorating the eco sober house rating effects of the opioid withdrawal syndrome. Three patients (17.6%) reported side effects noted as foggy, lightheaded, and dizzy. Mean BPs remained stable, averaging below 120 mm Hg for SBP and below 80 mm Hg for DBP readings .

Despite any similarities, it’s reported that there’s a massive difference in cost between the two medications, leading some to question the benefit of using Lofexidine over clonidine. Business Insider reports that Lucemyra costs $1,738 a week, whereas clonidine is approximately a dollar. Following a medically supervised detoxification program with a drug rehabilitation program typically gives a person the highest chance of recovery success.

For alpha2-adrenergic agonists compared with placebo, the evidence was very low to moderate quality, indicating that further evidence would be likely to change the estimates of relative effect made in this review. However, the evidence is sufficient to indicate that alpha2-adrenergic agonists are more effective than placebo, making further comparisons of this nature inappropriate on ethical grounds. The medication may be continued for up to 14 days with dosing guided by adverse effects and symptoms. The total daily dosage should not exceed 2.88 mg or 16 tablets, and no single dose should exceed 0.72 mg, or 4 tablets.

The branded medication, called Lucemyra, treats withdrawal from opioids and works in a way that’s similar to the generic, known as clonidine. But the US Food and Drug Administration has given the green light for the branded drug, whose off-brand name is lofexidine, to be used specifically to treat opioid withdrawal. Clonidine, on the other hand, isn’t officially approved for that use, but the generic is frequently used off-label for patients with withdrawal symptoms..

Lucemyra is used to treat withdrawal symptoms during the first 2 weeks after you stop taking opioids. Your doctor will lower your dosage slowly over the course of 2 to 4 days as your withdrawal symptoms become less severe. This will allow you to safely stop taking Lucemyra after 14 days. It belongs to a class of drugs called alpha-2 adrenergic agonists. While it may seem harmless, hypotension can cause serious problems, including fainting and falling.