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Addiction. 2014 Apr;109(4):596-607. doi: 10.1111/add.12439. Epub 2014 Jan 19.

Treatment retention, drug use and social functioning outcomes in those receiving 3 months versus 1 month of supervised opioid maintenance treatment. Results from the Super C randomized controlled trial.

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Norwich Medical School, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK.



Supervised consumption of opioid maintenance treatment (OMT) is standard in many drug centres reducing drug diversion, but is costly. We aimed to determine whether supervised consumption of OMT improved retention and other measures of drug use.


Pragmatic randomized controlled trial comparing 3 months of daily supervised consumption of OMT with 1 month or less of daily supervised OMT, then daily unsupervised consumption.


Four community drug services in the United Kingdom.


A total of 293 opioid-dependent patients entering OMT.



retention in treatment at 12 weeks. Secondary: retention at 6 months; illicit drug use [Maudsley Addiction Profile (MAP)]; quality of life (SF-12 and MAP); criminality (MAP); and social functioning.


No significant between-group difference was observed for the primary outcome: 69% (100 of 145) supervised and 74% (109 of 148) unsupervised were retained [odds ratio (OR) = 0.74, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.43-1.27]. Per protocol survival analysis suggested that supervised patients were less well retained (hazard ratio for retention = 0.71, 95% CI = 0.51-1.00). Illicit opioid use reduced in both groups and, while not statistically significant by intention-to-treat analysis, favoured unsupervised patients in per protocol analysis (odds of positive opioid screen for supervised versus unsupervised = 2.07, 95% CI = 1.05-4.06). Data on criminal activity also favoured unsupervised patients with 21% supervised patients committing crime versus 9% unsupervised (OR = 3.37, 95% CI = 1.28-8.86).


There was no evidence of a difference in treatment retention or opioid use rates between patients whose consumption of opioid maintenance treatment was supervised for 3 months daily (except Saturdays) compared with supervision for 1 month. There was some evidence that longer periods of supervised consumption were associated with higher levels of criminality.


Buprenorphine; capability index; consumption; criminality; illicit drug use; opiate maintenance treatment; quality of life; randomized controlled trial; supervised methadone; treatment retention

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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