Survey of methadone-drug interactions among patients of methadone maintenance treatment program in Taiwan.
BACKGROUND: Although methadone has been used for the maintenance treatment of opioid dependence for decades, it was not introduced in China or Taiwan until 2000s. Methadone-drug interactions (MDIs) have been shown to cause many adverse effects. However, such effects have not been scrutinized in the ethnic Chinese community. METHODS: The study was performed in two major hospitals in southern Taiwan. A total of 178 non-HIV patients aged ≥ 20 years who had participated in the Methadone Maintenance Treatment Program (MMTP) ≥ 1 month were recruited. An MDI is defined as concurrent use of drug(s) with methadone that may result in an increase or decrease of effectiveness and/or adverse effect of methadone. To determine the prevalence and clinical characteristics of MDIs, credible data sources, including the National Health Insurance (NHI) database, face-to-face interviews, medical records, and methadone computer databases, were linked for analysis. Socio-demographic and clinical factors associated with MDIs and co-medications were also examined. RESULTS: 128 (72%) MMTP patients took at least one medication. Clinically significant MDIs included withdrawal symptoms, which were found among MMTP patients co-administered with buprenorphine or tramadol; severe QTc prolongation effect, which might be associated with use of haloperidol or droperidol; and additive CNS and respiratory depression, which could result from use of methadone in combination with chlorpromazine or thioridazine. Past amphetamine use, co-infection with hepatitis C, and a longer retention in the MMTP were associated with increased odds of co-medication. Among patients with co-medication use, significant correlates of MDIs included the male gender and length of co-medication in the MMTP. CONCLUSIONS: The results demonstrate clinical evidence of significant MDIs among MMTP patients. Clinicians should check the past medical history of MMTP clients carefully before prescribing medicines. Because combinations of methadone with other psychotropic or opioid medications can affect treatment outcomes or precipitate withdrawal symptoms, clinicians should be cautious when prescribing these medications to MMTP patients and monitor the therapeutic effects and adverse drug reactions. Although it is difficult to interconnect medical data from different sources for the sake of privacy protection, the incumbent agency should develop pharmacovigilant measures to prevent the MDIs from occurring. Physicians are also advised to check more carefully on the medication history of their MMTP patients.
Lee, H-Y; Li, J-H; Wu, L-T; Wu, J-S; Yen, C-F; Tang, H-P
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