Major disruptions of sleep during treatment of the opiate withdrawal syndrome: differences between methadone and lofexidine detoxification treatments


D. Best, National Addiction Centre, 4 Windsor Walk, Denmark Hill, London SE5 8AF, UK. E-mail:


Sleep disturbance experienced during methadone or lofexidine opiate detoxification was investigated in 118 opiate-dependent patients receiving inpatient detoxification treatment. Sleep was assessed at four time-points during opiate detoxification using a self-report questionnaire. Maximum sleep disruption occurred at completion of detoxification and during the protracted withdrawal period, with patients in the methadone group reporting higher levels of withdrawal symptoms, lower overall sleep, longer sleep latencies and significantly longer periods of time awake than lofexidine patients. Regression analyses demonstrated a significant relationship between sleep disturbance, protracted withdrawal and retention in treatment, in addition to the major treatment benefit of reduced sleep disturbance conferred by lofexidine treatment.