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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 58  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 152-156

A novel approach in the detoxification of intravenous buprenorphine dependence

Department of Psychiatry, Mahatma Gandhi Medical College and Research Institute, Puducherry, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Sukanto Sarkar
Department of Psychiatry, Mahatma Gandhi Medical College and Research Institute, Puducherry - 607 402
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-5545.183793

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Background: Opioid dependence remains a significant problem in India, and of late intravenous (IV) buprenorphine use has increased in India, especially in combination with antihistamines and benzodiazepines. Its usage has many serious consequences in the form of needle-transmitted hepatitis and HIV, which is showing an increasing trend. Buprenorphine is a partial agonist at μ-opioid receptors. In tablet form (and rarely as IV), it is widely used in the treatment of opioid detoxification. We assessed the safety and efficacy of transdermal patch of buprenorphine with week long duration of action in the treatment of detoxification of IV buprenorphine dependence in view of its many advantages. Materials and Methods: Six consecutive patients with International Classification of Diseases diagnosis of Opioid Dependence Syndrome (IV buprenorphine) were given a buprenorphine patch for treatment of withdrawal symptoms after receiving consent. Severity of opioid dependence was assessed by using Severity of Opioid Dependence Questionnaire on the day of presentation. Subjective and objective rating for opioid withdrawal was done by subjective opiate withdrawal scale (SOWS) and objective opiate withdrawal scale (OOWS) prepatch and postpatch 3rd and 7th day. Buprenorphine side effect checklist was applied on a daily basis. Results: The patients had a mean age of 30 years, of whom 83.3% are males. All were educated and 50% were currently employed. All of them had additional comorbid substance use as well as a comorbid psychiatric diagnosis. Each of them received a patch of varying dosage. The patch dose used initially was based on clinical considerations alone and was fairly adequate in controlling acute withdrawal symptoms. There is a significant improvement in SOWS and OOWS while comparing the baseline (prepatch) with 3rd and 7th day (postpatch) (P ≤ 0.05). None of the patients reported any side effect with the patch. Conclusion: This study shows that transdermal buprenorphine is safe, useful, and clinically effective, and a 7-day application may provide an alternative means of detoxification. However, the result of the study needs to be replicated in a larger sample in a clinical setting, and a control group receiving a conventional mode of treatment needs to be included.



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