CD

Opioid Withdrawal

search

Opioid Withdrawal, Narcotic Withdrawal

  • See Also
  • Symptoms
  1. Classic triad for Opioid Withdrawal
    1. Piloerection
    2. Rhinorrhea
    3. Lacrimation
  2. Other general symptoms
    1. Cramping
    2. Myalgias
    3. Nausea
    4. Diarrhea
  • Management
  • General protocol for cessation of Opioids
  1. Maintain hydration during cessation
  2. Opioid Withdrawal is uncomfortable but not life threatening
    1. Contrast with Alcohol and Benzodiazepine Withdrawal which are potentially life threatening
  3. Small to moderate chronic daily Opioid use: Stop Opioid cold turkey
    1. Less than 10 days of daily Opioid or
    2. Morphine Sulfate (or equivalent dose of other Opioid) <30 mg per day
  4. Moderate to high chronic daily Opioid use
    1. Taper by 10% per week up to as fast as 10% daily
    2. Consider detoxification admission for non-compliant patients
      1. Methadone protocol
      2. Buprenorphine protocol
  1. Mechanism
    1. Decreases sympathetic CNS stimulation (noradrenergic response)
    2. Typically used in combination with other agents below (e.g. Gabapentin)
    3. Adverse effects include Dry Mouth, sedation, Dizziness, Bradycardia and Hypotension
  2. Preparations
    1. Clonidine (Catapres) 0.1 mg orally every 8-12 hours for 5 days
    2. Lucemyra (Lofexidine)
      1. Released in 2018, and similar to Clonidine, but at $330/day (Clonidine is $1/day)
      2. (2018) Presc Lett 25(9): 54
      3. Bryce (2019) Am Fam Physician 99(6): 393-4 [PubMed]
  3. Alpha Adrenergic Central Agonist Indications
    1. Non-life threatening Symptoms and Signs
    2. Anxiety
    3. Gastrointestinal symptoms
      1. Nausea or Vomiting
      2. Diarrhea
      3. Abdominal muscle cramps
    4. Other withdrawal symptoms (Piloerection, yawning, sneezing, Rhinorrhea)
  • Management
  • Other medications
  1. Withdrawal and craving symptoms
    1. Tizanidine 4-8 mg orally every 8 hours
    2. Baclofen 10 mg orally every 8 hours
    3. Gabapentin (Neurontin) 300 mg orally every 8 hours
      1. May be used with Tramadol
    4. Tramadol taper
      1. Tramadol 100 mg every 6 hours for one day, then
      2. Tramadol 100 mg every 8 hours for one day, then
      3. Tramadol 50 mg every 8 hours for one day, then
      4. Tramadol 50 mg every 12 hours for one day, then
      5. Tramadol 50 mg once
  2. Gastrointestinal symptoms
    1. Dicyclomine (for abdominal cramping)
    2. Loperamide (for Diarrhea)
  3. Psychiatric symptoms
    1. Hydroxyzine (for Agitation)
    2. Trazodone (for Insomnia)
  4. Miscellaneous symptoms
    1. NSAIDs (for myalgias)
  • Management
  • Medication Assisted Therapy Initiation
  1. See Buprenorphine for medication activity and precautions
  2. Indications
    1. Opioid Dependence AND
    2. Patient wishes to enter Chemical Dependency treatment AND
    3. Active Opioid Withdrawal with Clinical Opioid Withdrawal Scale (COWS) >8-9
  3. Buprenorphine may be given in the emergency department without a DEA X-Waiver
    1. However, Buprenorphine may not be prescribed without a waiver
    2. Allows for administration of a single dose in ED (or up to 3 doses in 72 hours if patient returns)
  4. Dosing: May be initiated in Emergency Department
    1. Day 1: Buprenorphine sublingual 4-8 mg
    2. Day 2: Buprenorphine sublingual 16 mg
    3. Day 3: Buprenorphine sublingual 16 mg
  5. Protocol
    1. Patient administered first dose in Emergency Department
    2. Close follow-up (1-3 days) arranged with a Buprenorphine capable clinic
  6. References
    1. Strayer and Swaminathan in Herbert (2018) EM:Rap 18(9): 3-6
  • Course
  1. Expect withdrawal symptoms for at least 7 days (up to weeks)
  • References
  1. Orman and Starr in Herbert (2016) EM:Rap 16(10): 3