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Pharmacopsychiatry. 2006 May;39(3):85-7.

Fatal poisoning in methadone and buprenorphine treated patients -- are there differences?

Author information

  • 1Psychiatric Hospital, University of Munich, Munich, Germany. Michael.soyka@med.uni-muenchen.de

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Some recent studies have suggested a lower risk of fatal intoxications in drug-dependent patients under buprenorphine compared to methadone treatment.

METHODS:

Epidemiological reference data for the Munich region suggest that in 2003 approximately 10 % of all substitution patients were treated with buprenorphine, and 87 % with methadone. We studied the proportion of patients under methadone and buprenorphine substitution among drug-related deaths. Data from forensic post-mortem and toxicological analysis were analyzed.

RESULTS:

Data indicate that in 96 (35 %) of all 272 so-called drug deaths, methadone was involved compared to a single case of buprenorphine, possibly indicating a relatively better risk profile of buprenorphine.

DISCUSSION:

More prospective studies are necessary to assess the risk of fatal intoxications under different substitution regimens.

PMID:
16721696
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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