Pharmacological therapies for management of opium withdrawal.
Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2018 Jun 21;6:CD007522
Authors: Rahimi-Movaghar A, Gholami J, Amato L, Hoseinie L, Yousefi-Nooraie R, Amin-Esmaeili M
BACKGROUND: Pharmacologic therapies for management of heroin withdrawal have been studied and reviewed widely. Opium dependence is generally associated with less severe dependence and milder withdrawal symptoms than heroin. The evidence on withdrawal management of heroin might therefore not be exactly applicable for opium.
OBJECTIVES: To assess the effectiveness and safety of various pharmacologic therapies for the management of the acute phase of opium withdrawal.
SEARCH METHODS: We searched the following sources up to September 2017: CENTRAL, MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL, PsycINFO, regional and national databases (IMEMR, Iranmedex, and IranPsych), main electronic sources of ongoing trials, and reference lists of all relevant papers. In addition, we contacted known investigators to obtain missing data or incomplete trials.
SELECTION CRITERIA: Controlled clinical trials and randomised controlled trials on pharmacological therapies, compared with no intervention, placebo, other pharmacologic treatments, different doses of the same drug, and psychosocial intervention, to manage acute withdrawal from opium in a maximum duration of 30 days.
DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: We used the standard methodological procedures expected by Cochrane.
MAIN RESULTS: We included 13 trials involving 1096 participants. No pooled analysis was possible. Studies were carried out in three countries, Iran, India, and Thailand, in outpatient and inpatient settings. The quality of the evidence was generally very low.When the mean of withdrawal symptoms was provided for several days, we mainly focused on day 3. The reason for this was that the highest severity of opium withdrawal is in the second to fourth day.Comparing different pharmacological treatments with each other, clonidine was twice as good as methadone for completion of treatment (risk ratio (RR) 2.01, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.69 to 2.38; 361 participants, 1 study, low-quality evidence). All the other results showed no differences between the considered drugs: baclofen versus clonidine (RR 1.06, 95% CI 0.63 to 1.80; 66 participants, 1 study, very low-quality evidence); clonidine versus clonidine plus amantadine (RR 1.03, 95% CI 0.86 to 1.24; 69 participants, 1 study); clonidine versus buprenorphine in an inpatient setting (RR 1.04, 95% CI 0.90 to 1.20; 1 study, 35 participants, very low-quality evidence); methadone versus tramadol (RR 0.95, 95% CI 0.65 to 1.37; 1 study, 72 participants, very low-quality evidence); methadone versus methadone plus gabapentin (RR 1.17, 95% CI 0.96 to 1.43; 1 study, 40 participants, low-quality evidence), and tincture of opium versus methadone (1 study, 74 participants, low-quality evidence).Comparing different pharmacological treatments with each other, adding amantadine to clonidine decreased withdrawal scores rated at day 3 (mean difference (MD) -3.56, 95% CI -5.97 to -1.15; 1 study, 60 participants, very low-quality evidence). Comparing clonidine with buprenorphine in an inpatient setting, we found no difference in withdrawal symptoms rated by a physician (MD -1.40, 95% CI -2.93 to 0.13; 1 study, 34 participants, very low-quality evidence), and results in favour of buprenorpine when rated by participants (MD -11.80, 95% CI -15.56 to -8.04). Buprenorphine was superior to clonidine in controlling severe withdrawal symptoms in an outpatient setting (RR 0.35, 95% CI 0.19 to 0.64; 1 study, 76 participants). We found no difference in the comparison of methadone versus tramadol (MD 0.04, 95% CI -2.68 to 2.76; 1 study, 72 participants) and in the comparison of methadone versus methadone plus gabapentin (MD -2.20, 95% CI -6.72 to 2.32; 1 study, 40 participants).Comparing clonidine versus buprenorphine in an outpatient setting, more adverse effects were reported in the clonidine group (1 study, 76 participants). Higher numbers of participants in the clonidine group experienced hypotension at days 5 to 8, headache at days 1 to 8, sedation at days 5 to 8, dizziness and dry mouth at days 1 to 10, and nausea at days 1 to 9. Sweating was reported in a significantly higher number of participants in the buprenorphine group at days 1 to 10. We found no difference between groups for all the other comparisons considering this outcome.Comparing different dosages of the same pharmacological detoxification treatment, a high dose of clonidine (1 to 1.2 mg/day) did not differ from a low dose of clonidine (0.5 to 0.6 mg/day) in completion of treatment in an inpatient setting (RR 1.00, 95% CI 0.84 to 1.19; 1 study, 68 participants), however a higher number of participants with hypotension was reported in the high-dose group (RR 3.25, 95% CI 1.77 to 5.98). Gradual reduction of methadone was associated with more adverse effects than abrupt withdrawal of methadone (RR 2.25, 95% CI 1.02 to 4.94; 1 study, 20 participants, very low-quality evidence).
AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: Results did not support using any specific pharmacological approach for the management of opium withdrawal due to generally very low-quality evidence and small or no differences between treatments. However, it seems that opium withdrawal symptoms are significant, especially at days 2 to 4 after discontinuation of opium. All of the assessed medications might be useful in alleviating symptoms. Those who receive clonidine might experience hypotension.
PMID: 29929212 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]