To describe an enforced but gentle transition from prescribed intravenous methadone to oral methadone in 14 opiate-dependent patients. We examined their case notes looking for ease of transition, evidence of illicit drug use before and during the 6 months following transition and progress 3 years later.
Eight patients immediately stopped injecting, the remainder used intravenous heroin in addition to prescribed oral methadone for some months. There were no serious adverse events. Three years later, four patients had ceased opiate use altogether and six were maintained on oral methadone (five of these without illicit use). Two patients were prescribed oral methadone by their general practitioner and one was no longer in treatment.
We show that it is possible to alter the formulation of prescribed methadone without deterioration in clinical stability or losing patients from treatment. This is an important conclusion as it is presumed that one of the aims of treatment with intravenous methadone is to move patients away from injectable to oral use. Offering patients a transition period of 6 months and a choice of the process of transition may be helpful.
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.