Evaluation of Buprenorphine Taper Duration in Primary Prescription Opioid Abusers Confirms What We Know About Relapse After Tx Ends
A recent publication reported on "A Randomized, Double-blind Evaluation of Buprenorphine Taper Duration in Primary Prescription Opioid Abusers." (Sigmon et al, JAMAPsych, published on-line 23 Oct 2013). The authors conclude that their findings "...suggest that a meaningful subset of PO [Prescription Opioid] - dependent outpatients may respond positively to a 4-week taper plus naloxone maintenance intervention." lt would seem this is an overly positive assessment.
First, the number of subjects is very small; the best outcomes were achieved with just 22 individuals assigned to the 4-week taper group. Furthermore, "the best" was not particularly good, since half of these individuals had relapsed to non-prescribed opioid use 4 weeks after detoxification was completed and before "naloxone maintenance" could even be initiated.