Send email for updates


About updates
Research analysis

This entry is our analysis of a study added to the Effectiveness Bank. The original study was not published by Findings; click Title to order a copy. Free reprints may be available from the authors – click prepared e-mail. Links to other documents. Hover over for notes. Click to highlight passage referred to. Unfold extra text Unfold supplementary text The Summary conveys the findings and views expressed in the study.

Title and link for copying Comment/query to editor

Outpatient versus inpatient opioid detoxification: a randomized controlled trial.

Day E., Strang J.
Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment: 2011, 40, p. 56–66.
Unable to obtain a copy by clicking title? Try asking the author for a reprint by adapting this prepared e-mail or by writing to Dr Day at e.j.day@bham.ac.uk.

Methadone maintained heroin-dependent patients in Birmingham (UK) randomised to inpatient v. outpatient lofexidine-based detoxification rarely sustained long-term opioid abstinence; return to maintenance was the typical outcome.

Summary Opioid detoxification is not an effective stand-alone treatment for heroin dependence but is nevertheless an essential step in the path to recovery. There has been relatively little previous controlled research on the impact of treatment setting on the likelihood of successful completion of detoxification. In this study, 68 opioid-dependent patients receiving community treatment (predominantly with methadone) and requesting detoxification were randomly assigned to an inpatient versus outpatient setting. Both groups received the same medication (lofexidine), and the primary outcome measure was being opioid-free at detoxification completion. More inpatients (51.4%) than outpatients (36.4%) completed detoxification, but this difference was not statistically significant. However, the outpatient group received a significantly longer period of medication, and when the length of detoxification was controlled for, the results significantly favoured the inpatient setting. Only 11 (16%) participants were opioid-free at the 1-month follow-up and 8 at the 6-month follow-up, with no between-group difference. Inpatient and outpatient opioid detoxification settings were not significantly different in completion or follow-up abstinence rates, but aspects of the study design may have favoured the outpatient setting. Future studies should test patient characteristics that predict better outcomes in each setting.

Last revised 04 February 2011

Comment/query to editor
Give us your feedback on the site (one-minute survey)
Open Effectiveness Bank home page
Add your name to the mailing list to be alerted to new studies and other site updates


Top 10 most closely related documents on this site. For more try a subject or free text search

STUDY 2009 Naltrexone implants after in-patient treatment for opioid dependence: randomised controlled trial

STUDY 2010 The SUMMIT Trial: a field comparison of buprenorphine versus methadone maintenance treatment

STUDY 2010 Long-term outcomes of aftercare participation following various forms of drug abuse treatment in Scotland

STUDY 2011 What is the role of harm reduction when drug users say they want abstinence?

MATRIX CELL 2014 Drug Matrix cell A2: Interventions; Generic and cross-cutting issues

STUDY 2009 The Drug Treatment Outcomes Research Study (DTORS): final outcomes report

STUDY 2011 Transitioning opioid-dependent patients from detoxification to long-term treatment: efficacy of intensive role induction

DOCUMENT 2014 Time limiting opioid substitution therapy

STUDY 2008 High risk of overdose death for opiate detoxification completers

REVIEW 2017 An evidence review of the outcomes that can be expected of drug misuse treatment in England