Generic name: lofexidine (loe-FEX-i-deen)
Drug class: Antiadrenergic agents, centrally acting
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Apr 27, 2021.
Commonly used brand name(s)
In the U.S.
Available Dosage Forms:
Therapeutic Class: Opioid Dependency
Pharmacologic Class: Alpha-2 Adrenergic Agonist
Uses for lofexidine
Lofexidine is used to help reduce withdrawal symptoms (eg, stomach cramps, muscle spasms or twitching, yawning, runny eyes, trouble sleeping, pounding of the heart) in patients using opioid medicines. Withdrawal symptoms happen when you stop using an opioid medicine suddenly. Lofexidine may also be used as part of a complete program, together with medical supervision and counseling, to treat opioid addiction.
Lofexidine is available only with your doctor's prescription.
Before using lofexidine
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For lofexidine, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to lofexidine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Appropriate studies have not been performed on the relationship of age to the effects of lofexidine in the pediatric population. Safety and efficacy have not been established.
No information is available on the relationship of age to the effects of lofexidine in geriatric patients. However, elderly patients are more likely to have age-related kidney problems, which may require caution and an adjustment in the dose for patients receiving lofexidine.
There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.
Interactions with medicines
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking lofexidine, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using lofexidine with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with this medication or change some of the other medicines you take.
Using lofexidine with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
- Aripiprazole Lauroxil
- Arsenic Trioxide
- Calcium Oxybate
- Chloral Hydrate
- Inotuzumab Ozogamicin
- Iobenguane I 131
- Magnesium Oxybate
- Methylene Blue
- Morphine Sulfate Liposome
- Nitrous Oxide
- Opium Alkaloids
- Potassium Oxybate
- Sodium Oxybate
- Sodium Phosphate
- Sodium Phosphate, Dibasic
- Sodium Phosphate, Monobasic
- Tolonium Chloride
Using lofexidine with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
Interactions with food/tobacco/alcohol
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using lofexidine with any of the following is usually not recommended, but may be unavoidable in some cases. If used together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use lofexidine, or give you special instructions about the use of food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Other medical problems
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of lofexidine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Bradycardia (slow heartbeat) or
- Brain or blood vessel disease or
- Chronic kidney failure or
- Heart attack, recent or
- Heart failure or
- Heart problems or
- Heart rhythm problems (eg, bradyarrhythmia, QT prolongation)—Use with caution. May cause side effects to become worse.
- Hypokalemia (low potassium levels in the blood) or
- Hypomagnesemia (low magnesium levels in the blood)—These conditions must be corrected first before starting treatment with lofexidine.
- Kidney disease or
- Liver disease—Use with caution. The effects may be increased because of the slower removal of the medicine from the body.
Proper use of lofexidine
Take lofexidine only as directed by your doctor. Do not take more of it, do not take it more often, and do not take it for a longer time than your doctor ordered. This is especially important for elderly patients, who may be more sensitive to the effects of pain medicines.
Lofexidine comes with a patient information leaflet. Read and follow these instructions carefully. Ask your doctor if you have any questions.
You may take lofexidine with or without food.
Do not take oral naltrexone within 2 hours of using lofexidine.
Drink plenty of fluids and avoid becoming overheated during treatment with lofexidine to prevent unwanted effects.
The dose of lofexidine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of lofexidine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.
- For oral dosage form (tablets):
- For opioid withdrawal symptoms:
- Adults—The usual dose is three 0.18 milligram (mg) tablets taken 4 times a day. Your doctor may adjust your dose as needed. However, the dose is usually not more than 0.72 mg (4 tablets) 4 times a day.
- Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
- For opioid withdrawal symptoms:
If you miss a dose of lofexidine, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.
Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.
Keep out of the reach of children.
Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.
Precautions while using lofexidine
It is very important that your doctor check your progress while you are using lofexidine to make sure lofexidine is working properly and to check for unwanted effects.
Lofexidine may cause low blood pressure, slow heartbeat, or fainting. Contact your doctor right away if you have any changes to your heart rhythm. Make sure your doctor knows if you or anyone in your family has ever had a heart rhythm problem such as QT prolongation.
Lofexidine will add to the effects of alcohol and other central nervous system (CNS) depressants. CNS depressants are medicines that slow down the nervous system, which may cause drowsiness or make you less alert. Some examples of CNS depressants are antihistamines or medicine for allergies or colds, sedatives, tranquilizers, or sleeping medicine, other prescription pain medicine or narcotics, medicine for anxiety or benzodiazepines, medicine for seizures or barbiturates, muscle relaxants, or anesthetics (numbing medicines), including some dental anesthetics. This effect may last for a few days after you stop using lofexidine. Check with your doctor before taking any of the other medicines listed above while you are using lofexidine.
After a period of not using an opioid medicine, you may be more sensitive to its effects and at greater risk of overdosing. Talk to your doctor if you have concerns.
Do not suddenly stop using lofexidine without first checking with your doctor. You may be directed to gradually reduce the amount you are using before stopping treatment completely to lessen the chance of unwanted side effects.
Lofexidine may make you dizzy, drowsy, or lightheaded. Do not drive or do anything else that could be dangerous until you know how lofexidine affects you.
Dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting may occur when you get up suddenly from a lying or sitting position. Getting up slowly may help lessen this problem. Also, lying down for a while may relieve dizziness or lightheadedness.
Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.
Lofexidine side effects
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
- Chest pain or discomfort
- cold sweats
- dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position
- slow or irregular heartbeat
- unusual tiredness
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
- dry mouth
- relaxed and calm feeling
- trouble sleeping
- unusual drowsiness
- Continuing ringing or buzzing or other unexplained noise in the ears
- hearing loss
Incidence not known
- increased sweating
- pain the arms or legs
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Frequently asked questions
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More about lofexidine
- Side Effects
- During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding
- Dosage Information
- Drug Interactions
- En Español
- 32 Reviews
- Drug class: antiadrenergic agents, centrally acting
- Other brands
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