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Clonidine is an α2 adrenergic agonist with analgesic properties. This study aimed to see if the addition of clonidine to morphine when given by patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) would improve analgesia beyond the first 12 h after surgery.Sixty patients undergoing lower abdominal surgery were recruited into a randomized double blind study. At the end of surgery Group C received an infusion of clonidine 4 µg kg–1 over 20 min, PCA clonidine 20 µg and morphine 1 mg bolus. Group M received an infusion of saline and then PCA morphine 1 mg bolus. Pain, sedation and nausea and vomiting were assessed after 12, 24 and 36 h, and satisfaction with analgesia was assessed at 36 h.Pain scores were significantly lower in Group C between 0 and 12 h, but thereafter there was no difference. Morphine consumption was the same for both groups until 24–36 h. Nausea and vomiting was significantly reduced in Group C between 0 and 24 h. Patients in Group C were significantly happier with their pain relief (four-point scale).