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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Longer Buprenorphine Tapering More Effective

English: Suboxone tablet - both sides.
Treating opioid addiction is one of the hardest substance abuse issues to treat. Relapse is common amongst opiate addicts in recovery; preventing relapse is the number one goal amongst addiction professionals.

The drug buprenorphine has proven to be effective with opiate detoxification and treatment. Patients taking buprenorphine may benefit from tapering off the medication over four weeks instead of a shorter period, according to a new study. After tapering off buprenorphine, it is best to follow with a naltrexone regiment, an opiate blocker, the researchers found.

70 people undergoing outpatient treatment for opioid addiction were observed by researchers at the University of Vermont.

The study took place over a 12-week period, for the first two weeks of the patients took buprenorphine. They were randomly selected to reduce the dose of the drug over one, two or four weeks.

All of them then received Naltrexone treatment and behavior therapy, HealthDay reports. Patients who tapered off buprenorphine over the longer four weeks period were more likely to stop abusing opioids, compared to a two week tapering.  

The findings are published in JAMA Psychiatry.
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