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New aspects in the treatment of heroin dependence with special reference to neurobiological aspects

  • Dieter Ladewig (a1), Kenneth M. Dürsteler-MacFarland (a1) (a2), Erich Seifritz (a1), Christoph Hock (a3) and Rudolf Stohler (a2)...

Summary

The Swiss trials on medical prescription of injectable diacetylmorphine (pharmaceutical heroin) for “severe” heroin dependence provoked very controversial commentaries. Despite methodological shortcomings, the evaluation of the Swiss heroin trials yielded some interesting findings. Study participants showed substantial improvements in health and well-being and noticeable declines in illicit drug use and criminal activities. Heroin prescription may thus be helpful for some of those who continue to regularly use illicit heroin while maintained on methadone or who refuse other available treatment options. However, research-based evidence suggests that the intravenous (IV) application of heroin under medical supervision may have untoward side effects. Recent studies have shown that heroin injections produce transient, but significant decreases in systemic and cortical oxygenation most likely secondary to respiratory depression. Among others, these effects are the subject of ongoing studies.

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Corresponding author

*Corresponding author. Tel.: +41-61-325-5132; fax: +41-61-325-5583 E-mail address: dieter.ladewig@pukbasel.ch (D. Ladewig).

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This article was presented at 5th AEP symposium, November 13–14, 1999, Strasbourg, France.

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References

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Keywords

New aspects in the treatment of heroin dependence with special reference to neurobiological aspects

  • Dieter Ladewig (a1), Kenneth M. Dürsteler-MacFarland (a1) (a2), Erich Seifritz (a1), Christoph Hock (a3) and Rudolf Stohler (a2)...

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New aspects in the treatment of heroin dependence with special reference to neurobiological aspects

  • Dieter Ladewig (a1), Kenneth M. Dürsteler-MacFarland (a1) (a2), Erich Seifritz (a1), Christoph Hock (a3) and Rudolf Stohler (a2)...
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