Provision of ancillary medications during buprenorphine detoxification does not improve treatment outcomes

J Addict Dis. 2010 Jan;29(1):23-9. doi: 10.1080/10550880903438925.


For individuals dependent on opioids, recovery efforts begin with a period of withdrawal that typically includes discomfort from symptoms, possibly precipitating a return to drug use. The study described here investigated whether the provision of ancillary medications for opioid withdrawal symptoms affected treatment outcomes in 139 participants receiving buprenorphine in a 13-day detoxification trial. Outcome measures include the number of opioid-free urine samples collected and retention in treatment. Ancillary medications were provided to 70% of participants: 59% received medication for insomnia, 45% for anxiety, 40% for bone pain, 35% for nausea, and 28% for diarrhea. Findings indicate no difference in the number of opioid-free urine samples between the group receiving ancillary medication and the group who did not, although tests of specific ancillary medications indicate that those who received diarrhea medication had fewer opioid-free urines than those who did not (P = .004). Results also indicate that participants attended fewer days of treatment if they received anxiety, nausea, or diarrhea medication compared to no medication (all P values < .05).

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analgesics, Opioid / pharmacokinetics*
  • Analgesics, Opioid / urine
  • Anxiety / chemically induced
  • Anxiety / drug therapy
  • Buprenorphine / therapeutic use*
  • Diarrhea / chemically induced
  • Diarrhea / drug therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inactivation, Metabolic
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Narcotics / therapeutic use*
  • Nausea / chemically induced
  • Nausea / drug therapy
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / complications
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / metabolism
  • Pain / chemically induced
  • Pain / drug therapy
  • Receptors, Opioid, delta / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / chemically induced
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / drug therapy
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Narcotics
  • Receptors, Opioid, delta
  • Buprenorphine