For opioid-dependent persons, how effective is buprenorphine maintenance versus placebo or methadone maintenance for substance abuse?
One well conducted Cochrane review of 31 RCTs found that
buprenorphine is effective in the maintenance treatment of heroin
dependence, suppressing illicit opioid use at doses of at least 16
mg or greater compared to placebo. Flexibly administered
buprenorphine has similar effectiveness to methadone for
suppressing illicit opioid use, but flexibly administered methadone
is superior to buprenorphine in retaining people in
treatment. These findings are consistent with NICE guidance
which recommends that buprenorphine, using flexible dose regimens,
is recommended as an option for maintenance therapy in the
management of opioid dependence.
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For relevant NICE guidelines, click the link under Related Links