Psychosocial and pharmacological treatments versus pharmacological treatments for opioid detoxification.

Amato L, Minozzi S, Davoli M, Vecchi S, Ferri MM, Mayet S.

Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2008 Oct 8;(4):CD005031. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD005031.pub3.

BACKGROUND: Different pharmacological approaches aimed at opioid detoxification are effective. Nevertheless a majority of patients relapse to heroin use, and relapses are a substantial problem in the rehabilitation of heroin users. Some studies have suggested that the sorts of symptoms which are most distressing to addicts during detoxification are psychological rather than physiological symptoms associated with the withdrawal syndrome. OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the effectiveness of any psychosocial plus any pharmacological interventions versus any pharmacological alone for opioid detoxification, in helping patients to complete the treatment, reduce the use of substances and improve health and social status. SEARCH STRATEGY: We searched the Cochrane Drugs and Alcohol Group trials register (27 February 2008). Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (The Cochrane Library Issue 1, 2008), PUBMED (1996 to February 2008); EMBASE (January 1980 to February 2008); CINAHL (January 2003-February 2008); PsycINFO (1985 to April 2003) and reference list of articles. SELECTION CRITERIA: Randomised controlled trials which focus on any psychosocial associated with any pharmacological intervention aimed at opioid detoxification. People less than 18 years of age and pregnant women were excluded. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Three reviewers independently assessed trials quality and extracted data. MAIN RESULTS: Nine studies involving people were included. These studies considered five different psychosocial interventions and two substitution detoxification treatments: Methadone and Buprenorphine. The results show promising benefit from adding any psychosocial treatment to any substitution detoxification treatment in terms of completion of treatment relative risk (RR) 1.68 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.11 to 2.55), use of opiate RR 0.82 (95% CI 0.71 to 0.93), results at follow-up RR 2.43 (95% CI 1.61 to 3.66), and compliance RR 0.48 (95% CI 0.38 to 0.59). AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: Psychosocial treatments offered in addition to pharmacological detoxification treatments are effective in terms of completion of treatment, use of opiate, results at follow-up and compliance. Although a treatment, like detoxification, that exclusively attenuates the severity of opiate withdrawal symptoms can be at best partially effective for a chronic relapsing disorder like opiate dependence, this type of treatment is an essential step prior to longer-term drug-free treatment and it is desirable to develop adjunct psychosocial approaches that might make detoxification more effective. Limitations to this review are imposed by the heterogeneity of the assessment of outcomes. Because of lack of detailed information no meta analysis could be performed to analyse the results related to several outcomes.

PMID: 18843675

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.