JOURNAL ARTICLE

High dose versus moderate dose methadone maintenance: is there a better outcome?

Ayman Fareed, Jennifer Casarella, Mary Roberts, Mary Sleboda, Richard Amar, Shreedevi Vayalapalli, Karen Drexler
Journal of Addictive Diseases 2009, 28 (4): 399-405
20155609
Methadone dosing has been an issue of controversy among clinicians for a long time. Few recent studies reported that doses above 100 mg daily seem promising in better control of illicit opiate use for some patients, but more research is needed to support that notion. A retrospective chart review for patients maintained on methadone at Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center was conducted. Patients were categorized into two groups: patients on a methadone dose of 60 to 100 mg daily (n = 34) and patients on a methadone dose greater than 100 mg daily (n = 25). Those charts were compared for urine drug screens for opiates and cocaine (first four from admission and most recent four screens), retention or drop out from the program, and Addiction Severity Index (ASI) composite score at admission and most recent score. The results of the first and last four urine drug screens for opiates showed that the moderate dose group was positive 23% and 17%, respectively. However, the high dose group was positive 14% and 8%, respectively. These results showed statistical significance (Chi-Square = 8.04, df = 3 and p =.03). ASI scores for drugs did not show statistically significant improvement for the moderate dose group (p =.19) but showed statistically significant improvement for the high dose group (p =.0002) when the result of the first and last ASI scores among each group were compared. The ASI scores for family problems showed statistically significant improvement for the moderate dose group (p =.03). High doses of methadone greater than 100 mg daily may provide a better outcome for illicit opiate use among some patients who would not respond to moderate doses.

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