Brief buprenorphine detoxification for the treatment of prescription opioid dependence: A pilot study

Stacey C. Sigmon, Kelly E. Dunn, Gary J. Badger, Sarah H. Heil, Stephen T. Higgins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


We examined the feasibility of brief outpatient detoxification as a treatment for prescription opioid (PO) abusers. Fifteen PO-dependent adults were enrolled to receive buprenorphine stabilization, a 2-week buprenorphine taper, and subsequent naltrexone for those who completed the taper. Subjects also received behavioral therapy, urinalysis monitoring, and double-blind drug administration. Subjects provided 83.8%, 91.7% and 31.2% opioid-negative samples during stabilization, taper and naltrexone phases, respectively. Inspection of individual subject data revealed systematic differences in whether subjects successfully completed the taper without resumption of illicit opioid use. Post-hoc analyses were used to examine the characteristics of subjects who successfully completed the taper (Responders, n = 5) vs. those who failed to do so (Nonresponders, n = 9). These pilot data suggest a subset of PO abusers may respond to brief buprenorphine detoxification, though future efforts should aim to improve outcomes, investigate individual differences in treatment response and identify characteristics that may predict those for whom longer-term agonist treatment is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)304-311
Number of pages8
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Buprenorphine
  • Naltrexone
  • Opioid detoxification
  • Oxycodone
  • Prescription opioid abuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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