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News From the Food and Drug Administration
June 19, 2018

New Relief for Opioid Withdrawal

JAMA. 2018;319(23):2372. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.7719

Lofexidine hydrochloride has received FDA approval to help alleviate opioid withdrawal symptoms. It’s the first nonopioid medication approved to relieve the misery of symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, profuse sweating, and tachycardia. In March an FDA advisory committee recommended the approval.

The drug is a selective α2-adrenergic receptor agonist that decreases the release of norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter believed to play a role in many opioid withdrawal symptoms. Lofexidine hydrochloride is a short-term option approved for a maximum 14-day treatment period.