Quality of Life in Patients under Substitution Treatment with Methadone and Buprenorphine
Introduction: Quality of life (QoL) refers to a person's subjective view of their life based in the frame of the cultural features and social value system in which they live. The use of addictive substances has devastating effects on health, society, and human relations. Substitution treatment can affect a patients' QoL in terms of their goals, expectations, patterns, and concerns. Object: To investigate the effect on the QoL of heroin-dependent patients under substitution treatment. Material and Methods: Eighty-eight patients (N=88) were divided into four groups of both control and study for the methadone and buprenorphine substitutes tested. The control group contained patients with over six months of treatment. The study group consisted of new patients under six months, provided that they were stabilized at their dosages. The structured Nottingham Health Profile (NHP) was used to collect data. The questionnaire was completed six months from the start of the study by both groups (phase 1) and twelve months after study initiation by the study group only (phase 2). Results: Forty-seven (53.4%) patients were maintained on methadone while 41 (46.6%) patients were maintained on buprenorphine. In phase 1, no significant differences were found in QoL of participants who started taking the two substitutes. In phase 2, significant improvement was found in all domains regardless of the substitution that the participants received, with buprenorphine demonstrating superior results in specific dimensions. Conclusion: The effect of substitution-maintained therapy appears to be more effective over an extended time period with significant improvement in the QoL.