Original Article

Evaluation on drug dependence of buprenorphine.

Authors: Zhi-Min Liu, Xian-Xiang Lu, Zhi Lian, Yue Mu, Ping Guo, Xin An


AIM: To survey and assess the drug dependence and abuse potential liability of buprenorphine among opiate abusers. METHODS: Subjects of opiate dependence with history of buprenorphine use for 3 d at least were surveyed by interview. Physical dependence of buprenorphine was assessed using 30 items opiate withdrawal scale (OWS), which composed of 30 symptoms/signs. A 4-point scale was used to rate each symptoms/signs: zero (0), mild (1), moderate (2), and severe (3). Subjects were asked to rate their symptoms according to severity of previous experienced buprenorphine withdrawal. The estimate of the degree of subjective euphoria for buprenorphine was assessed using visual analogue scale (VAS). RESULTS: Subjects 1235 who met the research criteria cases completed this survey in multi-detoxification treatment centers. The main initial purposes of buprenorphine use were detoxification (77.4 %) and protracted abstinence treated (26.6 %) respectively. The scores of OWS of buprenorphine were between 0.2 to 1.3; The mean scores of OWS in 3 different categories of frequency of buprenorphine use on "continuous use", "un-continuous use", and "sometimes continuous, sometimes un-continuous" were 0.9+/-0.9, 0.4+/-0.5, and 0.7+/-0.4, respectively (F=70.846, P<0.05). The degree of subjective euphoria for buprenorphine was slight to sub-moderate (mean score of VAS was 27 mm+/-24 mm). The mean scores of VAS in different routes of buprenorphine administration of sublingual and injection were (24+/-23) mm and (27+/-24) mm, respectively. No significant difference was found between sublingual and injection use of buprenorphine (u=1.516, P>0.05). CONCLUSION: Both physical and psychic dependence of buprenorphine were low.

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