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Opiate withdrawal syndrome in buprenorphine abusers admitted to a rehabilitation center in Tunisia

Ines Derbel
Asma Ghorbel
Férièle Messadi Akrout
Abdelmajid Zahaf


Background: Illicit use of high dosage buprenorphine has been well documented in several countries, including Tunisia.

Objectives: The aim of this survey is to assess the buprenorphine withdrawal syndrome time course, and how it may be affected by the population characteristics among subjects admitted to a rehabilitation center in Tunisia.

Methods: A prospective research has permitted study of the socio-demographic characteristics and assessment of buprenorphine withdrawal syndrome among 32 subjects admitted for buprenorphine dependence by using the clinical opiate withdrawal scale. An ANOVA was conducted to examine the effect of different factors on the withdrawal scores.

Results: 32 subjects were included. Among them 30 were males, 27 had been injecting buprenorphine, 16 were poly-drug abusers and 2 had a history of mental disorders. Buprenorphine withdrawal syndrome was of a mild intensity and had a delayed onset. Withdrawal mean scores varied between 0 and 9, and maximum values were reached at day 21. These scores varied significantly over time (p<0,001). The sex v time interaction and the mode of consumption of buprenorphine had significant effects on the withdrawal scores (p<0,001). The poly-drug consumption and the history of mental disorders did not have any significant effect on the withdrawal scores.

Conclusion: This study has permitted description of buprenorphine withdrawal syndrome among patients going through a detoxification treatment at a rehabilitation center. Understanding this syndrome would help elaborate effective and suitable buprenorphine dependence management plans.

Keywords: Buprenorphine, dependence, withdrawal

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1729-0503
print ISSN: 1680-6905