Clonidine poisoning in Jefferson County, Alabama

Academic Article


  • Study objective: To describe the epidemiology of clonidine-related hospitalization in children, to evaluate the efficacy of naloxone, and to review the clinical effects of clonidine toxicity. Methods: This was a retrospective analysis in an urban teaching pediatric emergency department with an annual census of 55,000 involving 80 children younger than 6 years who were admitted for clonidine ingestion during a 6-year period. Results: Clonidine commonly belonged to the patient's grandmother (54%). Black children were twice as likely to be hospitalized for clonidine ingestion than white children compared with children hospitalized for any injury. Average time to onset of symptoms was 35 minutes. Decreased level of consciousness was the most common presenting symptom (96%). Mean ED vital signs were systolic blood pressure, 102 mm Hg; pulse, 98; respirations, 25 (six patients intubated); and temperature, 36.6°C, Naloxone was administered to 49% of patients, 84% of whom demonstrated no response. Conclusion: Clonidine ingestion is endemic in our area. Serious clinical effects mandate that all children with clonidine ingestion be triaged to a health care facility. Naloxone as an antidote for clonidine remains controversial.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Nichols MH; King WD; James LP
  • Start Page

  • 511
  • End Page

  • 517
  • Volume

  • 29
  • Issue

  • 4