Benzodiazepine use among patients in heroin-assisted vs. methadone maintenance treatment: Findings of the German randomized controlled trial

Francisco José Eiroa-Orosa, Christian Haasen, Uwe Verthein, Christoph Dilg, Ingo Schäfer, Jens Reimer

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    Abstract

    Benzodiazepine (BZD) use has been found to be associated with poorer psychosocial adjustment, higher levels of polydrug use and more risk-taking behaviors among opioid dependent patients. The aim of this paper is to analyze the correlation between BZD use, BZD prescription and treatment outcome among participants in the German trial on heroin-assisted treatment. 1015 patients who participated in the study comparing heroin-assisted and methadone maintenance treatment (HAT & MMT) for 12 months were included in the analysis. Analyses were carried out to assess the association of treatment outcome with baseline BZD use, with ongoing BZD use and with different patterns of BZD prescription. Baseline BZD use correlated with lower retention rates but not with poorer outcome. Ongoing BZD use correlated with poorer outcomes. Significantly better outcomes were found in the course of phobic anxiety symptomatology for those with regular prescription of BZD. The percentage of BZD positive urine tests decreased more in HAT than in MMT. Poorer outcome for benzodiazepine users may be mediated by a higher severity of addiction. Cautious prescribing of benzodiazepines may be beneficial due to the reduction of overall illicit use. © 2010 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)226-233
    JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
    Volume112
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2010

    Keywords

    • Benzodiazepines
    • Diamorphine
    • Heroin-assisted treatment
    • Methadone maintenance
    • Opioid dependence
    • Prescriptions

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