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Methadone

Volume 406: debated on Thursday 12 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what research his Department has done into (a) Subutex and (b) other substitutes for methadone. [118483]

Methadone is the preferred clinical option in the treatment of opioid dependency and is supported by strong international evidence base.There is a growing body of evidence for the efficacy of buprenorphine (Subutex) in the treatment of opioid dependence. The level of evidence does not suggest that buprenorphine should replace methadone as a substitution treatment, but rather that buprenorphine should now be considered an evidence-based addition to the range of pharmacological maintenance treatments. Much of the emerging evidence derives from other European countries and the evidence for efficacy of this treatment in Britain is very limited and based on very few studies.Clinical guidelines on the management of drug misuse and dependence were issued by the Department of Health in 1999 and outline a range of substitute drugs that doctors may prescribe as appropriate.