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Drug Alcohol Depend. 2001 Dec 1;65(1):77-83.

Two methods of community detoxification from opiates: an open-label comparison of lofexidine and buprenorphine.

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  • 1St Lukes Woodside Hospital, Woodside Avenue, Muswell Hill, N10 3HU, London, UK.


There is currently no consensus on the best approach to the management of opiate detoxification. In the current open-label study, 69 opiate-dependent individuals requesting outpatient detoxification were allocated to two different medication regimes: lofexidine and buprenorphine. Allocation was dependent on the timing of their presentation. Lofexifidine is a structural analogue of clonidine, and used widely in the UK. Buprenorphine is a partial opiate agonist with unusual pharmacological properties. Outcomes were better for the buprenorphine-receiving group (n=38). Clients receiving buprenorphine had a less severe withdrawal syndrome, and were more likely to complete their detoxification. In addition, for the buprenorphine-receiving group it was found that the withdrawal syndrome was least in those prescribed an initial dose of 4 mg. The findings and their implications are discussed. The design of the study precludes definitive conclusions regarding relative efficacy.

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