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Pharmacopsychiatry. 2002 Sep;35(5):159-64.

Detoxification of opiate addicts with multiple drug abuse: a comparison of buprenorphine vs. methadone.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Medical School, Hannover, Germany.


Over the last few years, there has been a growing tendency for opioid addicts to abuse multiple drugs, although many patients are in substitution therapy with methadone. Abuse of multiple drugs leads to a more complicated withdrawal syndrome; it is therefore necessary to investigate new drug strategies as a treatment for detoxification. Buprenorphine appears to be an effective and safe drug in opioid-addicted patient detoxification. In this study, we have compared the short-term efficacy of an 11-day low-dose buprenorphine/14-day carbamazepine regime [BPN/CBZ] (n = 14) to an 11-day methadone/14-day carbamazepine regime [MET/CBZ] (n = 12) in a double-dummy, randomized 14-day inpatient detoxification treatment study. Twenty-six inpatients met the DSM-IV criteria for opioid dependence and were included in this study. All patients abused various additional drugs. Fourteen of 26 patients (53.8 %) completed the study. Seven non-completers (seven of 12 = 58.3 %) were treated with methadone/carbamazepine and five non-completers (five of 14 = 35.7 %) received buprenorphine/carbamazepine, but the difference in the dropout rate was not significant. However, patients with buprenorphine/carbamazepine showed significantly fewer withdrawal symptoms after the first two weeks of treatment. The present study supports the hypothesis that buprenorphine/carbamazepine is more effective than methadone/carbamazepine in detoxification strategies for opioid addict with additional multiple drug abuse. No severe side effects occurred during treatment in either group.

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