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Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2008 May;18(5):390-3. doi: 10.1016/j.euroneuro.2008.01.005. Epub 2008 Mar 4.

Psychobiological responses to drug cues before and after methadone intake in heroin-dependent patients: a pilot study.

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Psychiatric University Clinics, Division of Substance Use Disorders, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland.


Craving and stress frequently drive compulsive heroin use. Although methadone attenuates craving, drug-conditioned stimuli can trigger craving and possibly stress arousal in heroin-dependent patients receiving methadone maintenance. This study investigated drug cue-related craving, affectivity, and cortisol reactivity in 16 methadone-maintained patients before and after daily methadone. Unexpectedly, drug cues significantly increased craving after (t[15]=-4.27, p=0.001), but not before methadone intake. Patients displayed blunted cortisol response after post-methadone drug cues (t[15]=3.05, p=0.008) suggesting dissociated craving and cortisol reactivity after methadone intake of possible clinical relevance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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