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Drug Alcohol Depend. 2003 Jun 5;70(3):287-94.

Buprenorphine dosing regime for inpatient heroin withdrawal: a symptom-triggered dose titration study.

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  • 1Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre, Victoria, Australia.


The study aimed to identify the range of buprenorphine doses required to comfortably alleviate symptoms in patients undergoing inpatient heroin withdrawal using a symptom-triggered titration dosing regime, and to identify the patient characteristics that impact upon the buprenorphine dose requirements. The study was conducted in two Australian inpatient withdrawal units, recruiting 63 dependent, injecting heroin users with no recent methadone treatment, dependence on other drugs, or other active medical or psychiatric conditions. In a single (patient) blinded case series, placebo or 2 mg sublingual buprenorphine tablets was administered four times a day according to severity of withdrawal (assessed with Subjective Opiate Withdrawal Scale). Up to 16 mg buprenorphine was available over the first 4 days of the admission, up to 8 mg on day 5, and placebo continued until day 6. Thirty-two subjects completed the dosing regime, with mean (+/-S.D.) daily doses of 3.8+/-2.8 on day 1, 5.8+/-3.2 on day 2, 4.8+/-3.3 on day 3, 2.3+/-2.6 on day 4, 0.8+/-1.3 on day 5, and a total dose of 17.4+/-9.7. Higher buprenorphine doses were required by those patients with more severe psychosocial dysfunction, women, those with more frequent heroin use, and those with more severe dependence on heroin at intake. A dosing regime using sublingual buprenorphine tablets for short inpatient heroin withdrawal is proposed.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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