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Addiction. 2005 Dec;100(12):1860-7.

A comparison of buprenorphine and lofexidine for community opiate detoxification: results from a randomized controlled trial.

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Leeds Addiction Unit, UK.



To investigate whether a buprenorphine opiate detoxification regimen can be considered to be at least as clinically effective as a lofexidine regimen.


An open-label randomized controlled trial (RCT) using a non-inferiority approach. Non-inferiority is demonstrated if, within a 95% confidence interval, buprenorphine performs within a preset tolerance limit of clinically acceptable difference in outcomes and completion rates between the two treatments.


Individuals ready for heroin detoxification were given information about the trial and invited to participate. Consenting participants (n = 210) were then randomized to one of the two treatments. Detoxification was undertaken in a specialist out-patient clinic according to predefined protocols. The primary outcome was whether or not an individual completed the detoxification. Abstinence at 1-month follow-up was used as a secondary outcome measure. Additional secondary outcome measures were substance use, dependence, psychological health, social satisfaction, and treatment satisfaction. Data were also collected for individuals who declined randomization and instead chose their treatment (n = 271).


A total of 46% of those on lofexidine and 65% of those on buprenorphine completed detoxification. Of these, 35.7% of the lofexidine and 45.9% of the buprenorphine groups reported abstinence at 1 month. Of those not completing detoxification abstinence was reported at 27.5% and 29.0%, respectively; 271 individuals who opted not to be allocated randomly and instead chose one of the two treatments produced similar results


Buprenorphine is at least as effective as lofexidine detoxification treatment. Whether or not individuals were randomized to, or chose, a treatment appeared not to affect the study's outcome.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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