What is Lofexidine?

Lofexidine is prescribed to reduce the symptoms of withdrawal from opiate addiction during supervised detoxification.

The drug acts on alpha-adrenoceptors in the brain to reduce impulses in the sympathetic nervous system – the natural fight or flight response.

It is thought that opiate withdrawal symptoms such as sweating, diarrhoea, chills, cramps and so on are caused by a temporary excess of a chemical in the body called noradrenaline. Lofexidine reduces the effect of noradrenaline, thus reducing opiate withdrawal symptoms. However, it does not repress all opiate withdrawal symptoms, in particular tiredness and sleeplessness.

The course is administered either over five days (known as the 5 day detox) or as a 7-to-12-day programme.

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