Clonidine has been shown effective in reducing sympathetic hyperactivity in neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). The aim of this study was to analyze clinical and laboratory characteristics of a group of newborns treated with clonidine for NAS due to maternal drug addiction and due to withdrawal from opioid analgesic therapy. Only one full–term newborn presented with metabolic acidosis and hyperkalemia; in others no clinical or laboratory adverse effects were detected. This report emphasizes the importance of alertness to potential adverse effects of clonidine therapy, and discusses possible pathophysiological aspects of hyperkalemia and metabolic acidosis during treatment for NAS.
Key words: newborn, sympathetic hyperactivity, metabolic acidosis, hyperkalemia