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Use of very low-dose Phenobarbital to investigate compliance in patients on reducing doses of methadone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Kim Wolff, Alistair WM Hay, Duncan Raistrick, Morgan Feely

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)453-458
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Substance Abuse Treatment
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1993

King's Authors


Incorporation of very low doses of phenobarbital into a methadone linctus has enabled us to monitor the compliance of 7 patients receiving a reducing dose of methadone (detoxification) for treatment for opioid addiction. By measuring both plasma phenobarbital and methadone we detected 4 patients who consumed extra illicitly obtained methadone during the detoxification regime. Treatment outcome was poor; 11 of the original 18 patients dropped out of treatment within 14 days and of those who remained, 4 patients relapsed and reabused illicit drugs and 2 returned to a fixed dose of methadone. Laboratory measurements were successfully used to detect poor methadone compliance.

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