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Naltrexone has considerable potential in helping to prevent relapse in
heroin dependency. A longer-lasting formulation for naltrexone treatment
is desirable to further reduce non-adherence and relapse during treatment
of opiate dependence.
To evaluate the safety and effectiveness of a 6-month naltrexone implant
in reducing opioid use after in-patient treatment.
A group of 56 abstinence-oriented patients who completed in-patient
treatment for opioid dependence were randomly and openly assigned to
receive either a 6-month naltrexone implant or their usual aftercare.
Drug use and other outcomes were assessed at 6-month follow-up.
Patients receiving naltrexone had on average 45 days less heroin use and
60 days less opioid use than controls in the 180-day period (both
P<0.05). Blood tests showed naltrexone levels
above 1 ng/ml for the duration of 6 months. Two patients died, neither of
whom had received an implant.
Naltrexone implant treatment safely and significantly reduces opioid use
in a motivated population of patients.
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