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Addict Behav. 1990;15(6):541-7.

Comparison of linear versus inverse exponential methadone reduction curves in the detoxification of opiate addicts.

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  • 1Drug Dependence Clinical Research and Treatment Unit, Maudsley and Bethlem Royal Hospital, Beckenham, Kent, England.


A linear methadone detoxification procedure is compared with an inverse exponential reduction curve in a double-blind study. The inverse exponential curve resulted in withdrawal symptomatology which was significantly greater during the acute phase of the opiate withdrawal curve and was not significantly different during the recovery phase. There was no difference between groups in the time course of the withdrawal syndrome, in peak symptom severity, nor in patient compliance. Separate analyses for high-dose and for low-dose addicts show variation in the suitability of the two curves according to dose. The implications for future research and treatment of the opiate withdrawal syndrome are discussed.

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