OBJECTIVES--To establish activity levels of community (high street) pharmacies in the provision of HIV prevention services to drug misusers and to compare these findings with the levels identified in 1988. DESIGN--Self completion questionnaire (four mailings) to a random 1 in 4 sample of all community pharmacies, stratified by family health services authority. SETTING--England and Wales. SUBJECTS--Data provided by pharmacist in charge of the dispensary, on service provision at the pharmacy. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Quantitative reports of current activity levels for (a) dispensing of controlled drugs to drug misusers, (b) sale of needles and syringes, (c) needle and syringe exchange. RESULTS--74.8% response rate (1984/2654). In 1995, 50.1% (992/1980) of pharmacies were dispensing controlled drugs (mostly methadone), compared with 23.0% (562/2457) in 1988; 34.5% (677/1962) of pharmacies were selling injecting equipment, compared with 28.0% (676/2434) in 1988; 18.9% (366/1937) were providing a needle exchange service, compared with 3.0% (65/2415) in 1988. CONCLUSION--Activity levels increased substantially across all three service areas. Increased activity included greater individual activity as well as higher proportions of pharmacies participating. The network of community pharmacies represents an underused point of contact for this Health of the Nation target population.
Accidental poisoning by methadone occurs, particularly as a result of children ingesting a parent's methadone. Health care professionals have a responsibility to provide information and guidance to methadone users on safe storage of methadone. The objective of the study was to audit the effectiveness of information giving on the safety of methadone consumption, dose measurement and storage, and the effectiveness of sources of advice available for patients.
The study was undertaken prior to the introduction of a scheme for the supervised consumption of methadone, in the setting of an NHS Methadone clinic serving a district population of 490,000 in the UK. 185 consecutive patients attending a methadone clinic to collect a methadone prescription were the subject of an anonymous survey. Issues of safety of methadone consumption, storage and safety information provisions were assessed. A telephone survey of the community pharmacists dispensing the methadone covered the availability of measuring devices and provision of advice on safety was undertaken.
Methadone was stored in a variety of locations, a cupboard being most frequent. 95 patients (60.1%) had children either living in or visiting their home. All stored their methadone in a bottle with a child resistant lid; the majority measured doses using either the container supplied by the pharmacist or a plastic measure. 126 patients (78%) confirmed that a pharmacist provided a measuring container on their first visit, 24 (15%) were given a measure on every visit to the pharmacist. Advice on safe storage was recalled by 30% of the patients, and advice on measuring methadone by 28%. Methadone was seen as potentially dangerous by 82% of the patients.
The risks resulting from unsafe storage of methadone may be reduced by daily instalment prescribing and provision of measuring containers on request. Recall of provision of information on safety issues is poor and the adoption of a standard policy on provision information should be seen as a priority. A re-audit of safety of storage of methadone is recommended following the introduction of a standard policy on information provision.
OBJECTIVE--To establish the extent of prescribing injectable and oral methadone to opiate addicts and the practice characteristics and dispensing arrangements attached to these prescriptions. DESIGN--National survey of 25% random sample of community (high street) pharmacies through postal questionnaire, with four mailings. SETTING--England and Wales. SUBJECTS--1 in 4 sample of all 10,616 community pharmacies, stratified by family health services authority. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Data were collected on each prescription for controlled drugs currently being dispensed by pharmacies to misusers, describing the drug, form, dose, source (general practice or hospital; and NHS or private), and numbers of dispensing pick ups a week. RESULTS--Methadone was the opiate most commonly dispensed to misusers (96.0% of 3846 opiate prescriptions). 79.6% of methadone prescriptions were for the oral liquid form, 11.0% for tablet, and 9.3% for injectable ampoules. More than one third of all methadone prescriptions were for weekly or fortnightly pick up, with a further third being for daily pick up. Tablets and ampoules were even less likely to be dispensed on a daily basis. Private prescriptions were significantly more likely than NHS ones to be for tablets or ampoules, to be for substantially higher daily doses, and to be collected on a weekly or fortnightly basis. CONCLUSIONS--The distinctively British practice of prescribing injectable methadone was found to be widespread and, contrary to guidance, to be as prevalent in non-specialist as specialist settings. In view of the frequent crushing and injecting of methadone tablets, clearer more authoritative guidance is needed on the contexts in which injectable methadone (tablets as well as ampoules) should be prescribed and on the responsibilities for monitoring and supervision which should be attached.
Methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) is a key element in treatment for opiate addiction; however concerns about the diversion of methadone remain. More current empirical data on methadone diversion are required. This research investigated the market for diverted methadone in Merseyside, UK, in order to provide a case study which can be transferred to other areas undertaking methadone maintenance treatment on a large scale.
Questionnaires were completed (in interview format) with 886 past year users of methadone recruited both in and out of prescribing agencies. Topic areas covered included current prescribing, obtaining and providing methadone, reasons for using illicit methadone and other drug use.
Large proportions of participants had obtained illicit methadone for use in the past year with smaller proportions doing so in the past month. Proportions of participants buying and being given methadone were similar. Exchange of methadone primarily took place between friends and associates, with 'dealers' rarely involved. Gender, age, whether participant's methadone consumption was supervised and whether the aims of their treatment had been explained to them fully, influenced the extent to which participants were involved in diverting or using diverted methadone.
Methadone diversion is widespread although drug users generally do not make use of illicit methadone regularly (every month). The degree of altruism involved in the exchange of methadone does not negate the potential role of this action in overdose or the possibility of criminal justice action against individuals. Treatment agencies need to emphasise these risks whilst ensuring that treatment aims are effectively shared with clients to ensure adherence to treatment.
Methadone; diversion; treatment; supervision
OBJECTIVE--To assess recruitment to and work-load associated with methadone maintenance clinics in general practice; to investigate the characteristics of patients and outcomes associated with treatment. DESIGN--Study of case notes. SETTING--Methadone maintenance clinics run jointly by general practitioners and drug counsellors in two practices in Glasgow. PARTICIPANTS--46 injecting drug users receiving methadone maintenance during an 18 month period, 31 of whom were recruited to clinic based methadone maintenance treatment and 15 of whom were already receiving methadone maintenance treatment from the general practitioners. Mean (SD) age of patients entering treatment was 29.6 (5.5) years; 29 were male. They had been injecting opiates for a mean 9.9 (5.1) years, and most had a concurrent history of benzodiazepine misuse. Average reported daily intake of heroin was approximately 0.75 g. Participants in treatment had high levels of preexisting morbidity, and most stated that they committed crime daily. RESULTS--2232 patient weeks of treatment were studied. Mean duration of treatment during the study period was 50.7 (21.1) weeks and retention in treatment at 26 weeks was 83%. No evidence of illicit opiate use was obtained at an average of 78% of patients' consultations where methadone had been prescribed in the previous week; for opiate injection the corresponding figure was 86%. CONCLUSIONS--Providing methadone maintenance in general practice is feasible. Although costs are considerable, the reduction in drug use, especially of intravenous opiates, is encouraging. Attending clinics also allows this population, in which morbidity is considerable, to receive other health care.
Methadone is a synthetic, narcotic analgesic used in the treatment of drug misuse. Tragedies involving children being poisoned by the accidental ingestion of methadone are no longer a rare occurrence. Following an audit of the effectiveness of the provision and recall of information to patients attending an NHS Methadone Clinic a protocol was introduced to ensure that staff documented the provision of such information and patients gave a written confirmation that they had received the information.
The study was undertaken in the setting of an NHS methadone clinic with the aim of re- auditing the storage of methadone at home following the introduction of the new protocols. 174 patients completed an anonymous questionnaire regarding where they store methadone at home and whether they recall being given advice about safe storage. Community pharmacists were contacted by telephone to assess the level of advice given to methadone patients regarding safety.
Only 49 (28.2%) patients recalled being given advice about safe storage, 24 (13.8%) recalled that information was provided by clinic staff. 170 (97.7%) patients regard methadone as being dangerous. (28.2%). Methadone is most commonly stored in a cupboard (37.9%). All methadone is dispensed in a bottle with a child resistant cap on it. All patients reported they stored their methadone in the original bottle provided by the pharmacist.
Recall of information on safety issues is very poor. Provision of written as well as verbal information is needed. The use of printed safety information cards which patients can take away for future reference may be of use. It is the responsibility of health professionals to ensure they provide information and advice to methadone users on the safe storage of their methadone at home.
The cost-effectiveness of Canada's only supervised injection facility has not been rigorously evaluated. We estimated the impact of the facility on survival, rates of HIV and hepatitis C virus infection, referral to methadone maintenance treatment and associated costs.
We simulated the population of Vancouver, British Columbia, including injection drug users and persons infected with HIV and hepatitis C virus. The model used a time horizon of 10 years and the perspective of the health care system. We compared the situation of the supervised injection facility with one that had no facility but that had other interventions, such as needle-exchange programs. The effects considered were decreased needle sharing, increased use of safe injection practices and increased referral to methadone maintenance treatment. Outcomes included life-years gained, costs, and incremental cost-effectiveness ratios discounted at 5% per year.
Focusing on the base assumption of decreased needle sharing as the only effect of the supervised injection facility, we found that the facility was associated with an incremental net savings of almost $14 million and 920 life-years gained over 10 years. When we also considered the health effect of increased use of safe injection practices, the incremental net savings increased to more than $20 million and the number of life-years gained to 1070. Further increases were estimated when we considered all 3 health benefits: the incremental net savings was more than $18 million and the number of life-years gained 1175. Results were sensitive to assumptions related to injection frequency, the risk of HIV transmission through needle sharing, the frequency of safe injection practices among users of the facility, the costs of HIV-related care and of operating the facility, and the proportion of users who inject in the facility.
Vancouver's supervised injection site is associated with improved health and cost savings, even with conservative estimates of efficacy.
Research demonstrates that drug treatment staff members’ knowledge and attitudes about methadone are positively correlated with treatment success among opiate-dependent clients. However the bulk of this research is on outpatient treatment in methadone clinics. This study examined a residential treatment program that allowed clients on methadone, a rare treatment opportunity that is growing nationwide. Staff (N = 87) working in four therapeutic community (TC) facilities, were surveyed using the Abstinence Orientation Scale (AOS), Methadone Knowledge Scale (MKS), and Disapproval of Drug Use Scale (DDU). The relationships between TC staff characteristics and scores on the assessment measures were tested for differences. Staff members who affirmed having been in treatment had greater methadone knowledge than those who had not. Staff members who participated in methadone sensitivity training had greater methadone knowledge and lower abstinence orientation than those who did not attend the training. Staff in this study had stronger abstinence orientation than found in studies of methadone clinic staff, which may represent a barrier to methadone in residential settings. This study suggests that staff experience is correlated with attitudes and knowledge about methadone and that staff training is associated with changing attitudes and knowledge about methadone.
Methadone; residential treatment; therapeutic community; opioid dependence; Abstinence Orientation Scale; Methadone Knowledge Scale; disapproval of drug use
OBJECTIVE--To determine the current and potential roles of community pharmacists in the prevention of AIDS among misusers of injected drugs. DESIGN--Cross sectional postal survey of a one in four random sample of registered pharmacies in England and Wales. SETTING--Project conducted in the addiction research unit of the Institute of Psychiatry, London. SUBJECTS--2469 Community pharmacies in the 15 regional health authorities in England and Wales. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Willingness of pharmacists to sell injecting equipment to known or suspected misusers of drugs; pharmacists' attitudes to syringe exchange schemes, keeping a "sharps" box for use by misusers of drugs, and offering face to face advice and leaflets; and opinions of community pharmacists on their role in AIDS prevention and drug misuse. RESULTS--1946 Questionnaires were returned, representing a response rate of 79%. This fell short of the target of one in four pharmacies in each family practitioner committee area in England and Wales, and total numbers of respondents were therefore weighted in inverse proportion to the response rate in each area. The findings disclosed a substantial demand for injecting equipment by drug misusers. After weighting of numbers of respondents an estimated 676 of 2434 pharmacies were currently selling injecting equipment and 65 of 2415 (3%) were participating in local syringe exchange schemes; only 94 of 2410 pharmacies (4%) had a sharps box for used equipment. There was a high degree of concern among pharmacists about particular consequences of drug misusers visiting their premises, along with a widespread acceptance that the community pharmacist had an important part to play. CONCLUSIONS--Promoting the participation of community pharmacists in the prevention of AIDS among misusers of injected drugs is a viable policy, but several problems would need to be overcome before it was implemented.
Dextromethorphan (DM) is an N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist that may be useful during opiate addiction process, especially in reducing methadone consumption in methadone maintenance therapy (MMT). The goal of the current study was to evaluate the effects of oral administration of DM on reducing methadone dose in MMT used to treat illicit opioid drug abuse.
A double-blinded randomized clinical trial was designed. Seventy two opiate abusers undergoing MMT were randomly divided into two groups. Participants in the intervention group were medicated by DM while those in the control group received placebo. After a 6-week follow-up, methadone consumption dosage, quality of life (QOL) and withdrawal symptoms were assessed and compared between the two groups by repeated measure ANOVA statistical test.
The mean of methadone consumption in the DM and control groups were 62.7 mg/day (52.7-72.7) and 70.4 mg/day (60.4-80.4), respectively. No statistically significant difference was found between the two groups among the four evaluations made (F = 1.192, P = 0.279). There were not any significant differences in withdrawal symptoms between the two groups (P > 0.05). Total mean scores of QOL in the intervention and control groups were 84.8 (78.7-90.8) and 77.8 (71.8-83.7) (P > 0.05), respectively.
Although DM might be useful for opioid dependence treatment, results of the current study did not reveal any statistically significant differences. Therefore, further studies exploring this possibility are needed.
Methadone; Dextromethorphan; Opiate Dependence; Addiction; Maintenance Therapy
Many clients who undergo methadone maintenance (MM) treatment for heroin and other opiate dependence prefer abstinence from methadone. Attempts at methadone detoxification are often unsuccessful, however, due to distressing physical as well as psychological symptoms. Outcomes from a MM client who voluntarily participated in an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) – based methadone detoxification program are presented. The program consisted of a 1-month stabilization and 5-month gradual methadone dose reduction period, combined with weekly individual ACT sessions. Urine samples were collected twice weekly to assess for use of illicit drugs. The participant successfully completed the program and had favorable drug use outcomes during the course of treatment, and at the one-month and one-year follow-ups. Innovative behavior therapies, such as ACT, that focus on acceptance of the inevitable distress associated with opiate withdrawal may improve methadone detoxification outcomes.
Acceptance; mindfulness; psychological flexibility; experimental avoidance; Acceptance and Commitment Therapy; opiate dependence; methadone detoxification
Methadone is a synthetic opiate mu receptor agonist that is widely used to substitute for illicit opiates in the management of opiate dependence. It helps prevent opiate users from injecting and sharing needles which are vehicles for the spread of HIV and other blood borne viruses. This study has the objective of determining the utility of daily methadone dose to predict retention rates and re-injecting behaviour among opiate dependents.
Subjects comprised opiate dependent individuals who met study criteria. They took methadone based on the Malaysian guidelines and were monitored according to the study protocols. At six months, data was collected for analyses. The sensitivity and specificity daily methadone doses to predict retention rates and re-injecting behaviour were evaluated.
Sixty-four patients volunteered to participate but only 35 (54.69%) remained active and 29 (45.31%) were inactive at 6 months of treatment. Higher doses were significantly correlated with retention rate (p < 0.0001) and re-injecting behaviour (p < 0.001). Of those retained, 80.0% were on 80 mg or more methadone per day doses with 20.0% on receiving 40 mg -79 mg.
We concluded that a daily dose of at least 40 mg was required to retain patients in treatment and to prevent re-injecting behaviour. A dose of at least 80 mg per day was associated with best results.
Methadone is effective treatment for opioid addiction, but regulations restrict its use. Methadone medical maintenance treats stabilized methadone patients in a medical setting, but only experimental programs have been studied.
To evaluate the implementation of the first methadone medical maintenance program established outside a reseach setting.
One-year program evaluation.
A public hospital and a community opioid treatment program.
Methadone patients with >1 year of clinical stability. Eleven generalist physicians and 4 hospital pharmacists.
Regulatory exemptions were requested. Physicians and pharmacists were trained. Patients were transferred to the medical setting and permitted 1-month supplies of methadone.
Patient eligibility and willingness to enroll, treatment retention, urine toxicology results, change in addiction severity and functional status, medical services provided, patient and physician satisfaction, and physician attitudes toward methadone maintenance.
Regulatory exemptions were obtained after a 14-month process, and the program was cited in federal policy as acceptable for widespread implementation. Forty-nine of 684 patients (7.2%) met stability criteria, and 30 enrolled. Twenty-eight were retained for 1 year, and 2 transferred to other programs. Two patients had opioid-positive urine tests and were managed in the medical setting. Previously unmet medical needs were addressed, and the Addiction Severity Index (ASI) medical composite score improved over time (P =.02). Patient and physician satisfaction were high, and physician attitudes toward methadone maintenance treatment became more positive (P =.007).
Methadone medical maintenance is complex to arrange but feasible outside a research setting, and can result in good clinical outcomes.
methadone; heroin addiction; opioid-related disorders; outcome and process assessment
Injection drug use contributes to considerable global morbidity and mortality associated with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and AIDS and other infections due to blood-borne pathogens through the direct sharing of needles, syringes, and other injection equipment. Of ~16 million injection drug users (IDUs) worldwide, an estimated 3 million are HIV infected. The prevalence of HIV infection among IDUs is high in many countries in Asia and eastern Europe and could exacerbate the HIV epidemic in sub- Saharan Africa. This review summarizes important components of a comprehensive program for prevention of HIV infection in IDUs, including unrestricted legal access to sterile syringes through needle exchange programs and enhanced pharmacy services, treatment for opioid dependence (i.e., methadone and buprenorphine treatment), behavioral interventions, and identification and treatment of noninjection drug and alcohol use, which accounts for increased sexual transmission of HIV. Evidence supports the effectiveness of harm-reduction programs over punitive drug-control policies.
Despite growing concern about illicit methadone use in the US and other countries, there is little data about the prevalence and correlates of methadone use in large urban areas. We assessed the prevalence and examined correlates of lifetime and recent illicit methadone use in New York City (NYC).
1,415 heroin, crack, and cocaine users aged 15–40 years were recruited in NYC between 2000 and 2004 to complete interviewer-administered questionnaires.
In multivariable logistic regression, non-injection drug users who used illicit methadone were more likely to be heroin dependent, less than daily methamphetamine users and to have a heroin using sex partner in the last two months. Injection drug users who used illicit methadone were more likely to use heroin daily, share injection paraphernalia and less likely to have been in a detoxification program and to have not used marijuana in the last six months.
The results overall suggest that illicit (or street) methadone use is likely not a primary drug of choice, but is instead more common in concert with other illicit drug use.
To investigate the impact of harm-reduction programmes on HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) incidence among ever-injecting drug users (DU) from the Amsterdam Cohort Studies (ACS).
The association between use of harm reduction and seroconversion for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and/or hepatitis C virus (HCV) was evaluated using Poisson regression. A total of 714 DU were at risk for HIV and/or HCV during follow-up. Harm reduction was measured by combining its two most important components—methadone dose and needle exchange programme (NEP) use—and looking at five categories of participation, ranging from no participation (no methadone in the past 6 months, injecting drug use in the past 6 months and no use of NEP) to full participation (≥ 60 mg methadone/day and no current injecting or ≥ 60 mg methadone/day and current injecting but all needles exchanged).
Methadone dose or NEP use alone were not associated significantly with HIV or HCV seroconversion. However, with combination of these variables and after correction for possibly confounding variables, we found that full participation in a harm reduction programme (HRP) was associated with a lower risk of HIV and HCV infection in ever-injecting drug users (DU), compared to no participation [incidence rate ratio 0.43 (95% CI 0.21–0.87) and 0.36 (95% CI 0.13–1.03), respectively].
In conclusion, we found that full participation in HRP was associated with a lower incidence of HCV and HIV infection in ever-injecting DU, indicating that combined prevention measures—but not the use of NEP or methadone alone—might contribute to the reduction of the spread of these infections.
Harm reduction; hepatitis C virus; HIV; injecting drug use; methadone; needle exchange programmes
Opioid dependence, despite being the subject of significant public funding, remains a costly burden to Australian society in human and economic terms. The most cost-effective public health strategy for managing opioid dependence is opioid substitution therapy (OST), primarily through the use of methadone or buprenorphine. Supervised dispensing of OST from specialist clinics and community pharmacies plays a crucial role in enhancing compliance, monitoring treatment and reducing diversion. Australia, compared with other countries in the world, ranks very high in illicit opioid use; hence there is a great demand for OST.
The utilisation of community pharmacies for stable patients has many advantages. For public clinics, patient transfer to community pharmacies relieves workload and costs, and increases capacity for new OST patients. From a patient’s perspective, dosing at a pharmacy is more flexible and generally more preferable. Pharmacists stand to gain clientele, profit and receive small incentives from state governments in Australia, for their services. Yet, many “unmet needs” exist and there is a high demand for more involvement in OST service provision in community pharmacy in Australia.
In the UK there has been a steady increase in community pharmacy provision of OST, and pharmacists appear ready to provide further healthcare services to these patients.
The role of pharmacy in some countries in Europe, such as Germany, is less prominent due to their approach to harm minimisation and the complex, variable nature of OST provision across the European Union (EU). The provision of OST by pharmacists in the USA on the other hand is of lesser frequency as the healthcare system in the USA encourages detoxification clinics to handle cases of illicit drug addiction.
At a time when harm minimisation strategies constitute a topic of considerable political and public interest, it is important to understand the scope and variability of pharmacy involvement in drug policy in Australia. Hence, this review highlights the role of pharmacists in OST and explores the scope for expanding this role in the future.
Opioid Substitution Therapy services; Australian pharmacies.
Methadone treatment can reduce illicit drug use, needle sharing, and the social costs and health risks of heroin addiction. It is superior to no treatment, detoxification, or treatment programs lasting less than 3 months. For most patients, the optimal methadone dose is 50 to 120 mg daily. Supervised, random urine drug specimens should be collected at least twice weekly. Long-term counseling is essential and should include information on the risks of needle sharing and on screening for HIV and hepatitis B and C.
Needle-exchange programs (NEPs) have been shown to be effective in reducing barm related to injection drug use and to act as an important link between the injection drug using community and preventive/treatment services. Different needle-exchange distribution methods may reach different subpopulations of injecting drug users (IDUs). We undertook this study to characterize risk behaviors by primary source of clean needles accessed by IDUs in a city with pharmacy access and fixed and mobile exchange programs. We hypothesized there would be a gradient of risk across the three types of distribution. Data were collected from within the Vancouver Injection Drug Users Study (VIDUS), a prospective cohort study. Participants who primarily obtained clean needles from pharmacies, fixed sites, or mobile exchange vans were compared using the Cochran-Armitage trend test to test for trends in increasing risk behaviors across the three types of distribution. Ordinal multivariate regression was used to adjust the associations for potential confounders. Results illustrate clear trends for increasing risk profiles from pharmacy to fixed site to mobile exchange vans. Van users were generally at higher risk than fixed-site and pharmacy users. Independent predictors of van use were fewer years injecting, difficulty finding needles, Aboriginal ethnicity, incarceration in the previous 6 months, and injecting cocaine daily. An important component of needle-exchange programs is outreach to access those who are at highest risk. Use of distribution beyond fixed sites will improve such outreach, thereby increasing program effectiveness and further preventing the transmission of blood-borne infections.
Aboriginal; Females; HIV; Injection Drug Users; Needle-Exchange Programs; Pharmacies; Risk Taking; Sex Trade Work
Waiting lists for methadone treatment have existed in many U.S. communities, but little is known nationally about what patient and service system factors are related to admission delays that stem from program capacity shortfalls. Using a combination of national data sources, this study examined patterns in capacity-related admission delays to outpatient methadone treatment in 40 U.S. metropolitan areas (n=28,920). Patient characteristics associated with admission delays included racial/ethnic minority status, lower education, criminal justice referral, prior treatment experience, secondary cocaine or alcohol use, and co-occurring psychiatric problems. Injection drug users experienced fewer delays, as did self-pay patients and referrals from healthcare and addiction treatment providers. Higher community-level utilization of methadone treatment was associated with delay, whereas delays were less common in communities with higher utilization of alternative modalities. These findings highlight potential disparities in timely admission to outpatient methadone treatment. Implications for improving treatment access and service system monitoring are discussed.
methadone; treatment access; admission delays; waiting lists; disparities; program capacity
To explore methadone and 2-ethylidene-1,5-dimethyl-3,3-diphenylpyrrolidine (EDDP) umbilical cord disposition, correlate with maternal methadone dose and neonatal outcomes, and evaluate the window of drug detection in umbilical cord of in utero illicit drug exposure.
Subjects, 19 opioid-dependent pregnant women from two clinical studies, one comparing methadone and buprenorphine pharmacotherapy for opioid-dependence treatment, and the second examining monetary reinforcement schedules to maintain drug abstinence. Correlations were calculated for methadone and EDDP umbilical cord concentrations and maternal methadone dose, and neonatal outcomes. Cocaine- and opiate-positive umbilical cord concentrations were compared to those in placenta and meconium, and urine specimens collected throughout gestation.
Significant positive correlations were found for umbilical cord methadone concentrations and methadone mean daily dose, mean dose during the 3rd trimester and methadone cumulative daily dose. Umbilical cord EDDP concentrations and EDDP/methadone concentration ratios were positively correlated to newborn length, peak neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) score and time-to-peak NAS score. Methadone concentrations and EDDP/methadone ratios in umbilical cord and placenta were positively correlated. Meconium identified many more cocaine and opiate positive specimens than umbilical cord.
Umbilical cord methadone concentrations were correlated to methadone doses. Also, our results indicate that methadone and EDDP concentrations might help to predict NAS severity. Meconium proved to be more suitable than umbilical cord to detect in utero exposure to cocaine and opiates; however, umbilical cord could be useful when meconium is unavailable due to in utero or delayed expulsion.
methadone; cocaine; opiates; umbilical cord; in utero drug exposure
Benzodiazepines (BZD) misuse is a serious public health problem, especially among opiate-dependent patients with anxiety enrolled in methadone program because it puts patients at higher risk of life-threatening multiple drug overdoses. Both elevated anxiety and BZD misuse increase the risk for ex-addicts to relapse. However, there is no recent study to assess how serious the problem is and what factors are associated with BZD misuse. This study estimates the prevalence of BZD misuse in a methadone program, and provides information on the characteristics of BZD users compared to non-users.
An anonymous survey was carried out at a methadone program in Baltimore, MD, and all patients were invited to participate through group meetings and fliers around the clinic on a voluntary basis. Of the 205 returned questionnaires, 194 were complete and entered into final data analysis. Those who completed the questionnaire were offered a $5 gift card as an appreciation.
47% of the respondents had a history of BZD use, and 39.8% used BZD without a prescription. Half of the BZD users (54%) started using BZD after entering the methadone program, and 61% of previous BZD users reported increased or resumed use after entering methadone program. Compared to the non-users, BZD users were more likely to be White, have prescribed medication for mental problems, have preexistent anxiety problems before opiate use, and had anxiety problems before entering methadone program. They reported more mental health problems in the past month, and had higher scores in anxiety state, depression and perceived stress (p < .05).
Important information on epidemiology of BZD misuse among methadone-maintenance patients suggests that most methadone programs do not address co-occurring anxiety problems, and methadone treatment may trigger onset or worsening of BZD misuse. Further study is needed to explore how to curb misuse and abuse of BZD in the addiction population, and provide effective treatments targeting simultaneously addiction symptoms, anxiety disorders and BZD misuse.
Benzodiazepines use; prescription drug misuse; methadone program; anxiety; survey study
The Hmong are a distinct ethnic group from Laos. Little is known about how opiate addicted Hmong respond to methadone maintenance treatment. Therefore, opium addicted Hmong (exclusive route of administration: smoking) attending an urban methadone maintenance program in Minneapolis, Minnesota were matched by gender and date of admission with predominately heroin addicted non-Hmong (predominant route of administration: injection) attending the same program and both groups were evaluated for 1-year treatment retention, stabilization dose of methadone, and urine drug screen results. Hmong had greater 1-year treatment retention (79.8%) than non-Hmong (63.5%; p<0.01). In both groups, methadone dose was significantly associated with retention (p=0.005). However, Hmong required lower doses of methadone for stabilization (mean 49.0 mg versus 77.1 mg; p<0.0001). For both groups, positive urine drug screens were associated with stopping treatment. Further research to determine levels of tolerance, psychosocial, and pharmacogenetic factors contributing to differences methadone treatment outcome and dosing in Hmong may provide further insight into opiate addiction and its treatment.
Methadone; opiate dependence; treatment outcome; ethnicity; Hmong
Despite the high number of injecting drug users (IDUs) in Estonia, little is known about involving pharmacies into human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) prevention activities and potential barriers. Similarly, in other Eastern European countries, there is a need for additional sources for clean syringes besides syringe exchange programmes (SEPs), but data on current practices relating to pharmacists’ role in harm reduction strategies is scant. Involving pharmacies is especially important for several reasons: they have extended hours of operation and convenient locations compared to SEPs, may provide access for IDUs who have avoided SEPs, and are a trusted health resource in the community. We conducted a series of focus groups with pharmacists and IDUs in Tallinn, Estonia, to explore their attitudes toward the role of pharmacists in HIV prevention activities for IDUs. Many, but not all, pharmacists reported a readiness to sell syringes to IDUs to help prevent HIV transmission. However, negative attitudes toward IDUs in general and syringe sales to them specifically were identified as important factors restricting such sales. The idea of free distribution of clean syringes or other injecting equipment and disposal of used syringes in pharmacies elicited strong resistance. IDUs stated that pharmacies were convenient for acquiring syringes due to their extended opening hours and local distribution. IDUs were positive toward pharmacies, although they were aware of stigma from pharmacists and other customers. They also emphasized the need for distilled water and other injection paraphernalia. In conclusion, there are no formal or legislative obstacles for providing HIV prevention services for IDUs at pharmacies. Addressing negative attitudes through educational courses and involving pharmacists willing to be public health educators in high drug use areas would improve access for HIV prevention services for IDUs.
Injecting drug users; Pharmacists; Harm reduction services
Community pharmacies in Nepal serve both rural and urban populations and are an integral part of the Nepalese healthcare system. These community pharmacies are run by non-pharmacist professionals with orientation training on pharmacology and drug dispensing. Graduate pharmacists’ involvement in community pharmacy will help with patient counselling, dispensing of medication and promotion of safe and appropriate medicine use. Nepal has an organised pharmacovigilance system which incorporates adverse drug reaction (ADRs) from hospitals and tertiary care centres but not from the community. Involvement of pharmacists in community pharmacy will help in ADR reporting and, monitoring at community level and will help in promoting medication safety in the community. This article describes the community pharmacovigilance program in Nepal and the prospects for community pharmacists.
Community Pharmacy; Adverse Drug Reaction; Pharmacist; Nepal