• Iran;
  • harm reduction;
  • human;
  • opioid-related disorders/rehabilitation;
  • patient dropout/statistics and numerical data


Introduction and Aims

Methadone maintenance treatment and buprenorphine maintenance treatment are the two main therapeutic options considered for opioid replacement therapy. This study was conducted to examine the effectiveness of methadone maintenance treatment and buprenorphine maintenance treatment in Iran under usual clinical conditions.

Design and Methods

In this outcome research, 311 patients consented to participate in the study (77.8% response rate). The Opioid Treatment Index, General Health Questionnaire and WHOQOL-BREF questionnaire were used to assess the effectiveness of the therapeutic programs. Drop-out rate was calculated after two and six months of treatment.


Mean dose of methadone was in an acceptable range; however, doses for buprenorphine maintenance treatment patients seemed low. The rates of attrition after two and six months of treatment were 24.2% and 44.0% in the methadone maintenance treatment group and 41.3% and 65.4% in the buprenorphine maintenance treatment group, respectively (P< 0.001). Drug use, HIV risk-taking behaviour, and mental and physical health improved in both groups at six months of treatment, while quality of life improved only in the methadone maintenance treatment group.

Discussion and Conclusions

The retention seen in the buprenorphine group may in part be related to the low buprenorphine doses used. As a whole, the positive results provide support to continuation of maintenance programs. [Esmaeili H-R, Ziaddinni H, Nikravesh M-R, Baneshi M-R, Nakhaee N. Outcome evaluation of the opioid agonist maintenance treatment in Iran. Drug Alcohol Rev 2014;33:186–193]