A novel non-opioid protocol for medically supervised opioid withdrawal and transition to antagonist treatment.

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Adult; Amines; Analgesics, Opioid; Buprenorphine; Clonidine; Counseling; Cyclohexanecarboxylic Acids; Female; Humans; Hydroxyzine; Male; Naltrexone; Narcotic Antagonists; Opiate Substitution Treatment; Opioid-Related Disorders; Retrospective Studies; Substance Withdrawal Syndrome; Treatment Outcome; Young Adult; gamma-Aminobutyric Acid; Opioid withdrawal; antagonist therapy; medically supervised opioid withdrawal; naltrexone


BACKGROUND: The clinical feasibility of a novel non-opioid and benzodiazepine-free protocol was assessed for the treatment of medically supervised opioid withdrawal and transition to subsequent relapse prevention strategies.

METHODS: A retrospective chart review of DSM-IV diagnosed opioid-dependent patients admitted for inpatient medically supervised withdrawal examined 84 subjects (52 males, 32 females) treated with a 4-day protocol of scheduled tizanidine, hydroxyzine, and gabapentin. Subjects also received ancillary medications as needed, and routine counseling. Primary outcomes were completion of medically supervised withdrawal, and initiation of injectable extended release (ER) naltrexone treatment. Secondary outcomes included the length of hospital stay, Clinical Opiate Withdrawal Scale (COWS) scores, and facilitation to substance use disorder treatment intervention. Ancillary medication use and adverse effects were also assessed.

RESULTS: A total of 79 (94%) of subjects completed medically supervised withdrawal. A total of 27 (32%) subjects chose to pursue transition to ER naltrexone, and 24 of the 27 (89%) successfully received the injection prior to hospital discharge. The protocol subjects had a mean length of hospital stay of 3.6 days, and the mean COWS scores was 3.3, 3.4, 2.8, and 2.4 on Day 1, 2, 3, and 4, respectively. Furthermore, 71 (85%) engaged in an inpatient or outpatient substance use disorder (SUD) treatment program following protocol completion.

CONCLUSION: This retrospective chart review suggests the feasibility of a novel protocol for medically supervised opioid withdrawal and transition to relapse prevention strategies, including injectable ER naltrexone. This withdrawal protocol does not utilize opioid agonists or other controlled substances.‬‬‬‬.

Clinical Institute

Mental Health


Behavioral Health