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Effects of a single 50% extra dose of methadone on heroin craving and mood in lower- versus higher-dose methadone patients


Strasser, J; Wiesbeck, G A; Meier, N; Stohler, R; Dürsteler-MacFarland, K M (2010). Effects of a single 50% extra dose of methadone on heroin craving and mood in lower- versus higher-dose methadone patients. Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology, 30(4):450-454.

Abstract

Some patients on steady-state methadone occasionally crave for extra opioids for different reasons (eg, cue-elicited craving, stress). This study examined the acute-on-chronic effects on heroin craving, mood, and opioid-like symptoms of a single, extra half-dose on top of the patient's prescribed daily methadone dosage. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, counterbalanced crossover design was used to test the safety of this practice and the hypotheses that extra methadone would reduce heroin craving and improve mood, with greater responses in lower-dose (20-60 mg/d) as compared with higher-dose patients (80-120 mg/d). Fourteen stabilized methadone-maintained volunteers of each dose group were examined predrug and postdrug on 2 separate days using a range of self-report measures (Heroin Craving Questionnaire, visual analogs, Befindlichkeits-Skala, Short Opiate Withdrawal Scale, and Opioid Agonist Scale). Additionally, patients' expectations and guesses regarding treatment were assessed predrug and postdrug, respectively. No adverse effects occurred after extra methadone. Participants could not reliably distinguish between extra methadone and placebo. Repeated-measures analyses of variance showed no effects of extra methadone on heroin craving and opioid agonist effects. However, extra methadone improved mood on the Befindlichkeits-Skala (F1/24 = 4.71, P = 0.04), with marginally greater effects in lower-dose patients ((F1/24 = 2.94, P = 0.099). A single 50% extra methadone dose is most likely safe in patients on stable methadone doses of 20 to 120 mg/d and may improve patients' mood. Extra methadone may constitute an important factor in the attractiveness of maintenance treatment and may enhance treatment outcome.

Abstract

Some patients on steady-state methadone occasionally crave for extra opioids for different reasons (eg, cue-elicited craving, stress). This study examined the acute-on-chronic effects on heroin craving, mood, and opioid-like symptoms of a single, extra half-dose on top of the patient's prescribed daily methadone dosage. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, counterbalanced crossover design was used to test the safety of this practice and the hypotheses that extra methadone would reduce heroin craving and improve mood, with greater responses in lower-dose (20-60 mg/d) as compared with higher-dose patients (80-120 mg/d). Fourteen stabilized methadone-maintained volunteers of each dose group were examined predrug and postdrug on 2 separate days using a range of self-report measures (Heroin Craving Questionnaire, visual analogs, Befindlichkeits-Skala, Short Opiate Withdrawal Scale, and Opioid Agonist Scale). Additionally, patients' expectations and guesses regarding treatment were assessed predrug and postdrug, respectively. No adverse effects occurred after extra methadone. Participants could not reliably distinguish between extra methadone and placebo. Repeated-measures analyses of variance showed no effects of extra methadone on heroin craving and opioid agonist effects. However, extra methadone improved mood on the Befindlichkeits-Skala (F1/24 = 4.71, P = 0.04), with marginally greater effects in lower-dose patients ((F1/24 = 2.94, P = 0.099). A single 50% extra methadone dose is most likely safe in patients on stable methadone doses of 20 to 120 mg/d and may improve patients' mood. Extra methadone may constitute an important factor in the attractiveness of maintenance treatment and may enhance treatment outcome.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Clinical and Social Psychiatry Zurich West (former)
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:August 2010
Deposited On:02 Feb 2011 16:26
Last Modified:07 Dec 2017 06:50
Publisher:Lippincott Wiliams & Wilkins
ISSN:0271-0749
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1097/JCP.0b013e3181e6df49
PubMed ID:20571436

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