What is lofexidine?
The enigmatic medicine known as lofexidine operates by restraining the emission of norepinephrine, a hormone that bears a likeness to adrenaline and contributes to symptoms of opioid withdrawal. This non-opioid medication is prescribed for adults who encounter opioid withdrawal symptoms following the sudden cessation of the drug. It is important to note that lofexidine will not completely stave off the symptoms of opioid withdrawal, which may include stomach cramps, muscle spasms or twitching, feelings of cold, heart pounding, muscular tension, aches and pains, yawning, runny eyes, and sleep problems such as insomnia. It does not treat opioid addiction. However, healthcare providers may administer it as part of a complete treatment plan for opioid use disorders.
Some serious side effects on the heart or blood vessels may arise from lofexidine. If you have slow heartbeats, severe dizziness, or feel faint, it is vital to contact your physician immediately. Also, refrain from driving or performing other tasks that demand alertness until you gauge how lofexidine affects you. Becoming overheated or dehydrated may trigger a drop in blood pressure. As such, it is crucial to avoid this, and not to rise too fast from a sitting or lying position as this may cause dizziness.
It is imperative to taper lofexidine gradually following the doctor’s instructions, as sudden termination of the medication could result in severe high blood pressure, anxiety, arm or leg pain, chills, diarrhea, trouble sleeping, and excessive sweating.
Before taking this medicine, it is essential to inform the healthcare provider of any allergies to it. Also, notify the physician if you have had slow heartbeats, low blood pressure, heart problems, a heart attack or stroke, an electrolyte imbalance, long QT syndrome, kidney disease, or liver disease. The medication may not be safe for pregnant women or breastfeeding mothers. It is advisable to seek a doctor’s opinion concerning any risks.
Lofexidine has not been approved for use by individuals younger than 18 years old. It is necessary to adhere to all the instructions on the prescription label, medication guides, or instruction sheets. It is possible to take lofexidine with or without food, and dosing should be guided by symptoms and side effects. The medication may not entirely prevent all symptoms of opioid withdrawal, which may include yawning, pounding heartbeats, watery eyes, feeling cold, stomach pain, feeling sick, body aches, muscle tightness, or trouble sleeping. Additional counseling, support, and monitoring may be necessary during opioid withdrawal.
If you experience slow heartbeats, severe dizziness, or a light-headed feeling, call your doctor at once as lofexidine can cause severe side effects on your heart or blood vessels. Suddenly discontinuing lofexidine could result in a rapid increase in blood pressure and unpleasant symptoms. Thus, it is crucial to follow the physician’s instructions on tapering the dose. Store the medication at room temperature, away from heat and moisture, and keep the tablets in their original container, along with the packet or canister of moisture-absorbing preservative.
It is noteworthy that individuals who start using opioid medication after a prolonged period of abstinence may become more sensitive to the drug’s effects, thus increasing the risk of overdose and death. The usual adult dose for opiate withdrawal is 0.54 mg orally four times a day during the period of peak withdrawal symptoms, and dosing should be guided by symptoms and side effects. The frequency of dosing is every 5 to 6 hours, with a maximum single dose of 0.72 mg and a maximum daily dose of 2.88 mg/day. The maximum duration of therapy is 14 days.