Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
, 3 (1), 45-50

Buprenorphine vs Methadone Treatment: A Review of Evidence in Both Developed and Developing Worlds

Affiliations

Buprenorphine vs Methadone Treatment: A Review of Evidence in Both Developed and Developing Worlds

Paul J Whelan et al. J Neurosci Rural Pract.

Abstract

Heroin dependence is a major health and social problem associated with increased morbidity and mortality that adversely affects social circumstances, productivity, and healthcare and law enforcement costs. In the UK and many other Western countries, both methadone and buprenorphine are recommended by the relevant agencies for detoxification from heroin and for opioid maintenance therapy. However, despite obvious benefits due to its unique pharmacotherapy (eg, greatly reduced risk of overdose), buprenorphine has largely failed to overtake methadone in managing opioid addiction. The experience from the developing world (based on data from India) is similar. In this article we compare the advantages and disadvantages of the use methadone and buprenorphine for the treatment of opioid addiction from both a developed and developing world perspective; and explore some of the reasons why buprenorphine has not fulfilled the expectations predicted by many in the addictions field.

Keywords: Addiction; buprenorphine; detoxification; maintenance; methadone; opiate.

Conflict of interest statement

Conflict of Interest: Much of the information sources for this article come from an unpublished essay the first author wrote as part of course work in achieving a Masters of Science degree in Public Health and Clinical Aspects of Addiction from King's College London.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 23 articles

See all "Cited by" articles

References

    1. Shooting up: Infections among injecting drug users in the United Kingdom 2005. London: Health Protection Agency; 2006. Health Protection Agency.
    1. Ghodse AH, Sheehan M, Taylor C, Edwards G. Deaths of drug addicts in the United Kingdom 1967-81. Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1985;290:425–8. - PMC - PubMed
    1. Parker H, Newcombe R. Heroin use and acquisitive crime in an English community. Br J Sociol. 1987;38:331–50. - PubMed
    1. World Health Organization, Department of mental health and substance misuse. Proposal for the inclusion of buprenorphine in the WHO model list of essential medicines. WHO. 2004. [Last accessed: 2011]. Available from: http://www.who.int/substance_abuse/activities/buprenorphine_essential_medicines.pdf .
    1. United Nations Drug Control Programme. [Last accessed on 2000]. Available from: http://www.un.org/Docs/SG/SG-Rpt/ch3c-5.htm .
Feedback