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J Addict Dis. 2011 Jan;30(1):27-38. doi: 10.1080/10550887.2010.531672.

Effect of methadone maintenance treatment on heroin craving, a literature review.

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Atlanta, VA Medical Center, Emory University, School of Medicine, Decatur, GA 30033, USA.


Despite agreement that methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) is an effective and safe option for treatment of heroin dependence, there have been controversies about its effect on heroin craving. A systematic literature review of the PubMed database was used to find studies eligible for inclusion in the study. The authors present the results of 16 articles that met all inclusion criteria. Overall, 7 studies reported that methadone could reduce heroin craving, 4 studies reported that patients in MMT are still at risk of having heroin craving, 1 study reported that methadone could increase heroin craving, and 4 studies reported that methadone has a neutral effect on heroin craving. One may speculate from these data that methadone may help with heroin craving, but patients in MMT may still be at risk of cue-induced heroin cravings. Methadone provides a helpful tool for reducing some components of craving and risk of relapse for patient receiving MMT.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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