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Am J Med. 1998 Aug;105(2):100-5.

A randomized trial of buprenorphine maintenance for heroin dependence in a primary care clinic for substance users versus a methadone clinic.

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Department of Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06520-8025, USA.



Buprenorphine is an alternative to methadone for the maintenance treatment of heroine dependence and may be effective on a thrice weekly basis. Our objective was to evaluate the effect of thrice weekly buprenorphine maintenance for the treatment of heroin dependence in a primary care clinic on retention in treatment and illicit opioid use.


Opioid-dependent patients were randomly assigned to receive thrice weekly buprenorphine maintenance in a primary care clinic that was affiliated with a drug treatment program (n = 23) or in a traditional drug treatment program (n = 23) in a 12-week clinical trial. Primary outcomes were retention in treatment and urine toxicology for opioids; secondary outcomes were opioid withdrawal symptoms and toxicology for cocaine.


Retention during the 12-week study was higher in the primary care setting (78%, 18 of 23) than in the drug treatment setting (52%, 12 of 23; P = 0.06). Patients admitted to primary care had lower rates of opioid use based on overall urine toxicology (63% versus 85%, P < 0.01) and were more likely to achieve 3 or more consecutive weeks of abstinence (43% versus 13%, P = 0.02). Cocaine use was similar in both settings.


Buprenorphine maintenance is an effective treatment for heroin dependence in a primary care setting.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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