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Physicochemical stability of extemporaneously prepared clonidine solutions for use in neonatal abstinence syndrome

What is known and objective: Extemporaneously prepared clonidine admixture is increasingly used for the management of neonatal abstinence syndrome. However, its stability beyond 15 minutes at room temperature is currently unknown. Therefore, healthcare professionals must prepare clonidine admixtures multiple times a day while the treatment is indicated, resulting in subsequent limitations and problems. The aim of this study was to investigate the physicochemical stability of clonidine in commonly used pharmaceutical diluents at clinically relevant concentrations and temperatures.

Methods: Glass bottles (n = 18) and plastic syringes (n = 18) containing 0.5 and 5 µg/ mL of clonidine in either 5% glucose, 10% glucose or 0.9% normal saline were pre‐ pared and stored at 4°C for 7 days and at 35°C for 24 hours, respectively. Aliquots were withdrawn at predefined time points and analysed for the concentration of clonidine, changes in pH and colour, and particle content.

Results and discussion: No evidence of particle formation, or colour or pH change was observed throughout the study period. Clonidine retained more than 98% of its initial concentration when stored in the tested diluents at 4°C for 7 days and at 35°C for 24 hours.

What is new and conclusion: Our findings will allow healthcare professionals to pre‐ pare weekly dose of clonidine in glass bottles for storage in a refrigerator. The daily required dose of clonidine can be drawn aseptically from the glass bottle each day and stored in a plastic syringe at room temperature. Clonidine present in a plastic syringe can be administered via the nasogastric route 4‐6 times a day. This practice would not only save nursing time and avoid delays in the timely administration of clonidine, but also reduce the risk of potential medication errors as well as preparation‐associated costs.


Publication title

Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics










School of Pharmacy and Pharmacology


Blackwell Publishing Ltd

Place of publication

9600 Garsington Rd, Oxford, England, Oxon, Ox4 2Dg

Rights statement

© 2019 John Wiley & Sons Ltd

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Provision of health and support services not elsewhere classified

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