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Wien Klin Wochenschr. 2002 Nov 30;114(21-22):904-10.

[Slow-release morphine hydrochloride for maintenance therapy of opioid dependence].

[Article in German]

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Abteilung für Sozialpsychiatrie und Evaluationsforschung, Universitätsklinik für Psychiatrie des AKH Wien, Osterreich.



In Austria, methadone, buprenorphine as well as oral slow-release morphine are used for the treatment of opioid dependence. This controlled examination marks the first time that oral slow-release morphine hydrochloride is applied for maintenance therapy in opioid dependent subjects.


In order to evaluate the effectiveness of this psychopharmacological medication, we examined patients over a three-week period. Outcome measures were retention rate, additional consumption and the evaluation of opioid withdrawal 24 hours after the last oral medication.


Sixty-seven patients were included; sixty-four patients completed the study, representing a retention rate of 94%. During the three-week period, a significant improvement in well-being and a significant reduction in heroin, cocaine and benzodiazepine craving (p < 0.0001) was evaluated. Furthermore, there was a significant reduction of additional consumption of benzodiazepines in supervised urinalysis. Additional consumption of cocaine remained unchanged. Laboratory results showed a significant reduction of CK over the course of investigation.


The high retention rate of 94% implies a good acceptance and efficacy of the substance. The reduced CK is consistent with a reduction in intravenous application of illegal substances. However, randomized double-blind, double-dummy studies with oral slow-release morphine are needed in order to meet criteria for evidence based medicine.

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