The medical status of methadone maintenance patients in treatment for 11-18 years

D M Novick, B L Richman, J M Friedman, J E Friedman, C Fried, J P Wilson, A Townley, M J Kreek
Drug and Alcohol Dependence 1993, 33 (3): 235-45
To assess the safety and potential health consequences of long-term methadone maintenance treatment, we identified 111 male patients admitted to methadone maintenance treatment between 1965 and 1968, still enrolled in 1980 and in continuous treatment for at least 10 years. We were able, between 1980 and 1985, to examine patients or review records of 110 patients (99%). Most medical diagnoses, symptomatic complaints, physical examination findings and laboratory test results occurred with similar frequency in the long-term methadone maintenance patients and in a group of 56 long-term heroin addicts. These data suggest that prolonged methadone maintenance treatment is safe and is not associated with unexpected adverse effects.

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