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West J Med. 1990 May;152(5):588-99.

Methadone maintenance in the treatment of opioid dependence. A current perspective.

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14th Street Clinic and Medical Group, Oakland, California.


We describe the historical underpinnings of negative attitudes towards methadone and how these affect medical decisions. Current developments have increased the understanding of the origins of opioid addiction, such as how receptor system dysfunction may affect the ability to remain abstinent once out of treatment. Specialized topics include the pregnant addict, the role of methadone maintenance in limiting the spread of the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, and patients with a dual diagnosis. We also describe issues that arise when methadone is used in conjunction with prescribed or abused drugs, noting pharmacologic alternatives and adjuncts to methadone treatment. Finally, we comment on treatment issues such as methadone patients in 12-step programs and the growing legitimacy of this treatment method.

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