Methadone at tapered doses for the management of opioid withdrawal.

Abstract:

BACKGROUND:Despite use in many countries of tapered methadone for detoxification from opiate, the evidence of efficacy to prevent relapse and promote lifestyle change has not been systematically evaluated. OBJECTIVES:To determine whether tapered methadone is effective to manage withdrawal from opioids. SEARCH STRATEGY:We searched: Cochrane Controlled Trial Register (Issue 1, 2000), MEDLINE (OVID 1966-2000), EMBASE (1980-2000); reference list of relevant articles; personal communication; conference abstracts; trials from pharmaceutical industry; Internet. SELECTION CRITERIA:All randomised controlled trials on the use of tapered methadone versus all other detoxification treatments, placebo and different modalities of methadone detoxification programs for the treatment of opiate withdrawal. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS:One reviewer assessed studies for inclusion and undertook data extraction. The overall process were confirmed by consultation between reviewers. MAIN RESULTS:20 studies were included, with 1357 people randomised. 10 studies compared methadone with adrenergic agonists, 7 compared different modalities of methadone detoxification, 2 compared methadone with other opioid agonists, 1 study compared methadone with chlordiazepoxide one with placebo. 10 studies that compared methadone with adrenergic agonists showed clinical differences of the treatments; 6 studies that compared different methadone schedules, showed different withdrawal responses; 2 studies that compared methadone and other opioid agonists showed that methadyl acetate performed similarly to methadone, while propoxyphene produced more severe withdrawal symptoms and more drop-outs than methadone; chlordiazepoxide and methadone (1 study) resulted similar in terms of overall effectiveness; more severe withdrawal and more drop outs in the placebo group than in methadone one (1 study). The results indicate that tapered methadone and other medications used are effective although symptoms experienced differed according to the medication used and the program adopted. The medications are similar in terms of overall effectiveness. Improvements were achieved when other services supporting services were offered contemporaneously with detoxification. REVIEWER'S CONCLUSIONS:Data from literature are hardly comparable; programs vary widely with regard to duration, design and treatment objectives, along with reporting impairing the application of meta-analysis. The studies included confirm that slow tapering with temporary substitution of long acting opioid can reduce withdrawal severity. Nevertheless the majority of patients relapsed to heroin use, abstinence cannot be considered a goal as heroin dependence is a chronic, relapsing disorder and the purpose of detoxification should be to remove or reduce dependence on heroin in a controlled and human fashion and not a treatment for heroin dependence.

authors

Amato L,Davoli M,Ferri M,Ali R

doi

10.1002/14651858.CD003409

keywords:

subject

Has Abstract

pub_date

2002-01-01 00:00:00

pages

CD003409

issue

1

issn

1469-493X

pii

CD003409

pub_type

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