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Methadone alternative found

8th December 2006

A methadone alternative in pill form has been found to be as effective in treating heroin addicts as the current treatment.

Research on Edinburgh drug users found that the prescription painkiller dihydrocodeine was safer than methadone as it is easier to store and is less likely to result in a fatal overdose.
The pill is also cheaper than traditional methadone programmes which have come under criticism for their high cost.  The three and a half year study found that the cost of dihydrocodeine treatment in drug users is £713 per year compared with £1,500 annually for those on methadone programmes.

The researchers said that although methadone should still be used to treat the majority of patients withdrawing from heroin, it was important to offer an alternative.  Some people can’t tolerate methadone or find the stigma of having to take the drug in a public pharmacy difficult to deal with.   Dihydrocodeine is also preferred in prison where methadone is seen as hazardous.

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Article Information

Title: Methadone alternative found
Article Id: 1458
Date Added: 8th Dec 2006


BBC News

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