Post-treatment outcomes of buprenorphine detoxification in community settings: A systematic review

Michelle J. Horspool, Nicholas Seivewright, Christopher J. Armitage, Nigel Mathers

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    A systematic review was undertaken to examine studies of buprenorphine detoxification that has included post-treatment outcomes as well as more immediate aspects of progress. Studies were required to report details of buprenorphine withdrawal regime and post-treatment outcomes including abstinence rates. Only five studies met these criteria, with buprenorphine regimes lasting 3 days to several weeks, and with variable follow-up. Detoxification completion rates were 65-100%, but relatively few treatment completers were then drug free at their follow-up appointments. In subsequent prescribing, more patients had returned to opioid maintenance than complied with naltrexone. Our preliminary review indicates that buprenorphine is a suitable medication for the process of opiate detoxification but that this newer treatment option has not led to higher rates of abstinence following withdrawal. Further studies are required to more substantially examine abstinence outcomes, as well as characteristics which predict success. Copyright © 2008 S. Karger AG.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)179-185
    Number of pages6
    JournalEuropean Addiction Research
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2008


    • Abstinence
    • Buprenorphine
    • Detoxification
    • Systematic review
    • Treatment outcomes


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