Safety and tolerability of slow-release oral morphine versus methadone in the treatment of opioid dependence

Hämmig, Robert; Köhler, Wilfried; Bonorden-Kleij, Karin; Weber, Bernd; Lebentrau, Karin; Berthel, Toni; Babic-Hohnjec, Lucija; Vollmert, Christian; Höpner, Doris; Gholami, Najibulah; Verthein, Uwe; Haasen, Christian; Reimer, Jens; Ruckes, Christian (2014). Safety and tolerability of slow-release oral morphine versus methadone in the treatment of opioid dependence. Journal of substance abuse treatment, 47(4), pp. 275-281. Elsevier 10.1016/j.jsat.2014.05.012

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Opioid substitution treatment (OST) for opioid dependence may be limited by adverse events (AEs). Increasing the range of therapeutic options optimizes outcomes and facilitates patient management. An international, multi-center, two-phase study investigated the efficacy and safety of slow-release oral morphine (SROM) versus methadone in patients receiving methadone therapy for opioid dependence. In phase 1 (two way cross-over, 11 weeks each period) patients were randomized to SROM or methadone oral solution. In phase 2 (25 weeks), patients continued treatment with SROM (group A) or switched from methadone to SROM (group B). In total, 211 out of 276 completed phase 1 and 198 entered phase 2 (n = 95 group A, n = 103 group B). Treatment with both SROM and methadone was well tolerated. However, the mean QTc-interval associated with methadone was significantly longer than that under SROM. Higher treatment satisfaction, fewer cravings for heroin, and lower mental stress were reported with SROM. This study adds a significant further weight of evidence that SROM is an effective and well tolerated long-term maintenance treatment for opioid dependence with a beneficial risk profile compared to methadone regarding cardiac effects and supports its clinical utility.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > University Psychiatric Services > University Hospital of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy > UPD Murtenstrasse

UniBE Contributor:

Hämmig, Robert








Robert Hämmig

Date Deposited:

26 Jan 2015 09:43

Last Modified:

24 Nov 2015 11:12

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PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Opioid substitution treatment, Slow-release oral morphine, Opioid dependence, QTc-interval, Safety




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