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August 1974

Low-Dosage Use of Methadone in Extended Detoxification: An Experimental Comparison

Author Affiliations

From Yolo County Mental Health Services, Woodland, Calif.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1974;31(2):233-236. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1974.01760140081014

Thirty heroin addicts were studied to examine the effects of methadone hydrochloride given in low dosages in extended narcotic detoxification. Treatment procedures were divided into two phases, extending over 90 days. Initial phase (seven to ten days) included both hospital and outpatient supervision, and was terminated when addicts were reduced to a 10-mg dose of methadone. The second phase of treatment was conducted exclusively on an outpatient basis and double-blind techniques were employed.

Results of the study showed that few patients became drug-free and most soon returned to heroin use. No significant differences were found between treatment modalities, and the data do not suggest that hospital treatment affected the results of a 90-day treatment program. This particular study shows few measurable benefits from the low-dosage use of methadone in prolonged (90-day) narcotic detoxification treatment.

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