How Long Does Clonidine Stay in Your System?

Clonidine is often used as a treatment medication for opioid withdrawal. While it can be effective for this purpose, many individuals are concerned about how long the drug will actually stay in their systems.

If you are suffering from opioid addiction, or someone you love has been abusing opioid drugs, call 800-994-1867Who Answers? now for help and get info on your treatment options.

Clonidine’s Uses and Effects

According to the National Library of Medicine, clonidine is a centrally acting alpha-agonist hypotensive agent. It is often used to treat high blood pressure but can also be used to treat ADHD. For many individuals, though, clonidine is used to manage the uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms caused when someone dependent on opioids stops using these drugs (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration).


Clonidine can reduce withdrawal symptoms such as abdominal cramps and anxiety.

Clonidine is an effective medication for this purpose because it can minimize many of the withdrawal effects opioids can cause, including

  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Muscle, joint, and bone pain
  • Sweating
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Runny nose

According to the NLM, it is usually most effective against the flu-like withdrawal symptoms associated with opioids, but it does not reduce issues like vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea. It also cannot soothe insomnia or reduce cravings. Another medication may need to be prescribed for these issues, especially the gastrointestinal effects associated with withdrawal.

How Long Does Clonidine Stay in Your System?

Clonidine’s effects will usually last for about 12 to 16 hours. But traces of the drug can stay in a person’s system for much longer than this. In general, a urine test can detect the use of clonidine up to 3 days after the individual takes the medication. This is important to know, as the drug does not leave a person’s system immediately after its effects subside.

However, different individuals may experience longer detection times for clonidine, as the drug can linger in one’s system longer if they are subject to certain variables. These can include

  • Metabolism: The speed of one’s metabolism can affect the amount of time it takes for the body to break down and flush out clonidine. If a person has a slow metabolism, the drug will linger longer in their system.
  • Age: Older individuals tend to have slower metabolisms, therefore causing them to experience longer periods of time where a drug like clonidine would stay in their system.
  • Body size: Those with more fat and/or those who are larger will not process the drug as quickly. As a result, traces of it will stay in their systems for longer periods of time.
  • Dosage or frequency of use: As with most drugs, people who take clonidine frequently or in high doses are likely to see the drug linger in their systems for longer periods than those who take it once or in a smaller dose.

Can I Take Methadone and Clonidine at the Same Time?

It is not recommended that patients overcoming opioid addiction take both methadone and clonidine simultaneously. In fact, many methadone clinics ask their patients to take urine tests so they can determine whether or not they have been taking clonidine before admitting them to the program. The interaction of the drug with methadone can often be problematic, even sometimes bringing on the sedative effects opioid abuse can cause.

According to a study in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, clonidine abuse, unfortunately, does occur. “Of 22 applicants who took clonidine illicitly, 15 used it primarily to decrease opioid withdrawal, as well as for its sedating effect.” The illicit use of clonidine can be an issue, and the drug is likely to linger in a person’s system even more if they are abusing it. This is another reason why clonidine and methadone shouldn’t be taken at the same time.

How Can I Find Treatment for Drug Abuse?

If you have been abusing clonidine, opioids, or any other type of drug and need help, call 800-994-1867Who Answers? today. Get answers to any questions you may have about drug addiction, treatment, and recovery. You can begin your life anew as soon as possible and put your substance abuse in the past.

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