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J Subst Abuse Treat. 2002 Oct;23(3):163-9.

Heroin detoxification with buprenorphine on an inpatient psychiatric unit.

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  • 1University of Maryland, School of Pharmacy, 100 Penn St, Rm 505, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA. bdipaula@rx.umaryland.edu


The purpose of this open-label, uncontrolled study was to evaluate the feasibility of administering off-label buprenorphine in combination with ancillary medications for inpatient short-term detoxification of heroin-dependent patients at a psychiatric facility. A sample of 20 heroin-dependent patients admitted to an urban psychiatric hospital was administered buprenorphine 6, 4, and 2 mg/day during the first, second, and third day of detoxification, respectively, and then observed during the fourth and fifth day. Eighty-five percent of the subjects abused other substances, 75% reported cocaine abuse/dependence, 75% had comorbid mood disorders. All subjects completed the medication phase of the study. No clinically significant adverse events were reported. There was a significant decrease in the Clinical Investigation Narcotic Assessment (CINA) total score between baseline and days 2 through 5. The results suggest that buprenorphine is well tolerated and may be beneficial for medically supervised short-term withdrawal from heroin for hospitalized psychiatric patients.

Copyright 2002 Elsevier Science Inc.

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