Short-term outcomes of five heroin detoxification methods in the Australian NEPOD Project

Erol Digiusto, Nicholas Lintzeris, Courtney Breen, Jo Kimber, Richard P Mattick, James Bell, Robert Ali, John B Saunders, Gabriele Bammer

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    This study included 380 participants in five heroin detoxification trials whose data were pooled to enable direct comparison of five detoxification methods in the Australian National Evaluation of Pharmacotherapies for Opioid Dependence (NEPOD). Rapid detoxification achieved similar initial abstinence rates with either anaesthesia or sedation (average 59%), which were higher than was achieved by inpatient detoxification using clonidine plus other symptomatic medications (24%), which in turn was higher than outpatient detoxification using either buprenorphine (12%) or clonidine plus other symptomatic medications (4%). Older participants and those using more illicit drugs were more likely to achieve abstinence. Entry rates into ongoing postdetoxification treatment were as follows: buprenorphine outpatient (65%), sedation (63%), anaesthesia (42%), symptomatic outpatient (27%), and symptomatic inpatient (12%). Postdetoxification treatment with buprenorphine or methadone was preferred over naltrexone. Participants with more previous detoxification attempts were more likely to enter postdetoxification treatment. Given that outpatient detoxification was more effective with buprenorphine than with symptomatic medications and that rapid detoxification was more effective than the symptomatic inpatient method, the roles of the symptomatic methods should be reconsidered.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)443-456
    JournalAddictive Behaviors
    Publication statusPublished - 2005


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