The partial opiate-receptor agonist buprenorphine has been suggested for treatment of heroin dependence, but there are few long-term and placebo-controlled studies of its effectiveness. We aimed to assess the 1-year efficacy of buprenorphine in combination with intensive psychosocial therapy for treatment of heroin dependence.
40 individuals aged older than 20 years, who met DSM-IV criteria for opiate dependence for at least 1 year, but did not fulfil Swedish legal criteria for methadone maintenance treatment were randomly allocated either to daily buprenorphine (fixed dose 16 mg sublingually for 12 months; supervised daily administration for a least 6 months, possible take-home doses thereafter) or a tapered 6 day regimen of buprenorphine, thereafter followed by placebo. All patients participated in cognitive-behavioural group therapy to prevent relapse, received weekly individual counselling sessions, and submitted thrice weekly supervised urine samples for analysis to detect illicit drug use. Our primary endpoint was 1-year retention in treatment and analysis was by intention to treat.
1-year retention in treatment was 75% and 0% in the buprenorphine and placebo groups, respectively (p=0.0001; risk ratio 58.7 [95% CI 7.4-467.4]). Urine screens were about 75% negative for illicit opiates, central stimulants, cannabinoids, and benzodiazepines in the patients remaining in treatment.
The combination of buprenorphine and intensive psychosocial treatment is safe and highly efficacious, and should be added to the treatment options available for individuals who are dependent on heroin.
Comment In: Lancet. 2003 May 31;361(9372):1907; author reply 1907-812788596
Comment In: Lancet. 2003 Feb 22;361(9358):634-512606172
Comment In: Lancet. 2003 May 31;361(9372):1906-7; author reply 1907-812788595
Centre for Behavioural Research and Program Evaluation, Lyle S Hallman Institute, Room 1717A, University of Waterloo, 200 University Avenue West, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, N2L 3G1. firstname.lastname@example.org
To conduct an exploratory, comparative study of the utilisation and effectiveness of tobacco cessation quitlines among aboriginal and non-aboriginal Canadian smokers.
Population based quitlines that provide free cessation information, advice and counselling to Canadian smokers.
First time quitline callers, age 18 years of age and over, who called the quitline between August 2001 and December 2005 and who completed the evaluation and provided data on their ethnic status (n = 7082).
Demographic characteristics and tobacco behaviours of participants at intake and follow-up; reasons for calling; actions taken toward quitting, and 6-month follow-up quit rates.
7% of evaluation participants in the time period reported aboriginal origins. Aboriginal participants were younger than non-aboriginals but had similar smoking status and level of addiction at intake. Concern about future health and current health problems were the most common reasons aboriginal participants called. Six months after intake aboriginals and non-aboriginals had taken similar actions with 57% making a 24-hour quit attempt. Quit rates were higher for aboriginals than non-aboriginals, particularly for men. The 6-month prolonged abstinence rate for aboriginal men was 16.7% compared with 7.2% for aboriginal women and 9.4% and 8.3% for non-aboriginal men and women, respectively.
This exploratory analysis showed that even without targeted promotion, aboriginal smokers do call Canadian quitlines, primarily for health related reasons. We also showed that the quitlines are effective at helping them to quit. As a population focused intervention, quitlines can reach a large proportion of smokers in a cost efficient manner. In aboriginal communities where smoking rates exceed 50% and multiple health risks and chronic diseases already exist, eliminating non-ceremonial tobacco use must be a priority. Our results, although exploratory, suggest quitlines can be an effective addition to aboriginal tobacco cessation strategies.
Cites: N Engl J Med. 2002 Oct 3;347(14):1087-9312362011
The position of the curator (abortion counsellor) in Sweden is discussed. The counselling is facultative before the 12th week of pregnancy and about 20% of abortion seekers go to curators for counselling. After the 12th week of pregnancy, counselling is mandatory; here the curator is intended to give support to the abortion seeker, and his evaluation of the case may be considered by the physicians in their approval of the abortion application. Abortion counselling is not meant to influence an abortion seeker, but to give her a chance to discuss and explore her decision to undergo abortion. Follow-up consultations after the abortion operation would be desirable, but are difficult to arrange.
Given the increase in the number of abortions being performed in hospitals throughout the United States and Canada, there is an obvious need for counseling programs for these patients. The authors describe one such program, and emphasize the importance of close working relationships between the counselors and their supervising staff.