The Use of Tramadol for Acute Heroin Withdrawal: A Comparison to Clonidine

Paul W. Sobey, Theodore V. Parran*, Scott F. Grey, Christopher L. Adelman, Jaehak Yu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Using a retrospective chart review, 59 patients detoxified with tramadol were compared to 85 patients detoxified with clonidine on rates of leaving against medical advice (AMA) and control of withdrawal symptoms. Patients detoxified with tramadol had 23% (95% CI, 0.09-0.59; P < .01) the risk of leaving AMA and scored an average of 0.24 points lower (95% CI, 0.08-0.41; P < .01) on a 0-3 point withdrawal symptom scale compared to patients detoxified with clonidine. This preliminary study indicates that tramadol is more effective in managing withdrawal than clonidine, and may be especially useful in outpatient detoxification.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-25
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Addictive Diseases
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Clonidine therapeutic use
  • Cohort studies
  • Drug
  • Heroin dependence drug therapy
  • Medical detoxification
  • Tramadol therapeutic use


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