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J Subst Abuse Treat. 2002 Dec;23(4):351-60.

Behavioral naltrexone therapy: an integrated treatment for opiate dependence.

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  • 1The New York State Psychiatric Institute, Division on Substance Abuse, Substance Treatment and Research Service, 1051 Riverside Drive, New York, NY 10032, USA.


Treatment of opiate dependence with naltrexone has been limited by poor compliance. Behavioral Naltrexone Therapy (BNT) was developed to promote adherence to naltrexone and lifestyle changes supportive of abstinence, by incorporating components from empirically validated treatments, including Network Therapy with a significant other to monitor medication compliance, the Community Reinforcement Approach, and voucher incentives. An overview is presented of the BNT treatment manual. In an uncontrolled Stage I trial (N = 47), 19% completed the 6-month course of treatment. Retention was especially poor in the subsample of patients who were using methadone at baseline (N = 18; 39% completed 1 month, none completed 6 months), and more encouraging among heroin-dependent patients (N = 29; 65% completed 1 month, 31% completed 6 months). Thus, attrition continues to be a serious problem for naltrexone maintenance, although further efforts to develop interventions such as BNT are warranted.

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