Opiate dependent young people ages 15-21 did better with 12 weeks of treatment with Suboxone as opposed to a 2 weeks of treatment with Suboxone. This according to new research funded by NIDA (US National Institute on Drug Abuse).
The findings held true even for teens and young adults with shorter durations of addiction.
Better outcomes included better treatment retention, less opiate use, less marijuana use, less cocaine use and less injecting even a year after the treatment.
“The results of our study suggest that there is no hurry to stop providing buprenorphine-naloxone, an effective medication, regardless of a patient’s short duration of opioid abuse,” said study author Dr. George Woody. “In my experience as a clinician, most opioid abusers -adolescent or adult -prefer to get off medication eventually. When to stop medication is an individual decision that depends on a patient’s response to treatment, his or her commitment to achieving full remission without medication, and whether he or she has attained a sustained period of abstinence and stable overall living situation.”
The report noted that further studies are needed to find out whether even longer treatment with Suboxone would be even more effective.
Based on my experience working with many opiate-dependent people, I anticipate that further research will document that lengthening the period of treatment with Suboxone even further will result in even better treatment outcomes in this age group.