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Aust N Z J Public Health. 2001 Apr;25(2):121-5.

Withdrawal from methadone maintenance treatment: prognosis and participant perspectives.

Author information

1
Turning Point Alcohol & Drug Centre Inc, Victoria. Micheal.Lenne@general.monash.edu.au

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To determine the proportion of clients engaged in methadone maintenance treatment who have favourable prognosis for withdrawal, and to examine client perceptions and expectations of withdrawal.

METHODS:

A broad cross-section of 856 methadone clients was sampled across Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. Self-complete surveys were developed for the clients, their clinic staff or pharmacists, and methadone prescribers. The client survey examined aspects of the clients' perspectives of withdrawal, and the surveys for the service providers collected information about each client's current treatment episode. Informed consent was provided by clients to obtain information from their clinic staff member or pharmacist, and their methadone prescriber.

RESULTS:

Most clients (70%) were at least very interested in methadone withdrawal. Clients were also more optimistic about their own post-withdrawal outcomes (in terms of opioid use) than both their clinic staff and prescribing doctors. Clinical criteria indicated that 31% of clients had a reasonable prognosis for withdrawal. However, when considering all factors, 17% had good withdrawal prognosis, were interested in methadone withdrawal, and believed it was very likely they would remain opioid-free for three months post-withdrawal.

CONCLUSIONS:

Despite the likely continued increase in client numbers in substitution maintenance treatment, the majority of methadone clients have a poor prognosis for withdrawal and should not be encouraged to cease treatment.

IMPLICATIONS:

Clients who do not meet key clinical criteria are likely to have poor clinical outcomes regardless of how withdrawal is attempted.

PMID:
11357906
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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