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Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

Pharmacological therapies for management of opium withdrawal

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, June 2018
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  • In the top 25% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (85th percentile)
  • Average Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source

Mentioned by

1 blog
2 policy sources
3 Wikipedia pages


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Readers on

191 Mendeley
Pharmacological therapies for management of opium withdrawal
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, June 2018
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd007522.pub2
Pubmed ID

Afarin Rahimi-Movaghar, Jaleh Gholami, Laura Amato, Leila Hoseinie, Reza Yousefi-Nooraie, Masoumeh Amin-Esmaeili


Pharmacologic therapies for management of heroin withdrawal have been studied and reviewed widely. Opium dependence is generally associated with less severe dependence and milder withdrawal symptoms than heroin. The evidence on withdrawal management of heroin might therefore not be exactly applicable for opium. To assess the effectiveness and safety of various pharmacologic therapies for the management of the acute phase of opium withdrawal. We searched the following sources up to September 2017: CENTRAL, MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL, PsycINFO, regional and national databases (IMEMR, Iranmedex, and IranPsych), main electronic sources of ongoing trials, and reference lists of all relevant papers. In addition, we contacted known investigators to obtain missing data or incomplete trials. Controlled clinical trials and randomised controlled trials on pharmacological therapies, compared with no intervention, placebo, other pharmacologic treatments, different doses of the same drug, and psychosocial intervention, to manage acute withdrawal from opium in a maximum duration of 30 days. We used the standard methodological procedures expected by Cochrane. We included 13 trials involving 1096 participants. No pooled analysis was possible. Studies were carried out in three countries, Iran, India, and Thailand, in outpatient and inpatient settings. The quality of the evidence was generally very low.When the mean of withdrawal symptoms was provided for several days, we mainly focused on day 3. The reason for this was that the highest severity of opium withdrawal is in the second to fourth day.Comparing different pharmacological treatments with each other, clonidine was twice as good as methadone for completion of treatment (risk ratio (RR) 2.01, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.69 to 2.38; 361 participants, 1 study, low-quality evidence). All the other results showed no differences between the considered drugs: baclofen versus clonidine (RR 1.06, 95% CI 0.63 to 1.80; 66 participants, 1 study, very low-quality evidence); clonidine versus clonidine plus amantadine (RR 1.03, 95% CI 0.86 to 1.24; 69 participants, 1 study); clonidine versus buprenorphine in an inpatient setting (RR 1.04, 95% CI 0.90 to 1.20; 1 study, 35 participants, very low-quality evidence); methadone versus tramadol (RR 0.95, 95% CI 0.65 to 1.37; 1 study, 72 participants, very low-quality evidence); methadone versus methadone plus gabapentin (RR 1.17, 95% CI 0.96 to 1.43; 1 study, 40 participants, low-quality evidence), and tincture of opium versus methadone (1 study, 74 participants, low-quality evidence).Comparing different pharmacological treatments with each other, adding amantadine to clonidine decreased withdrawal scores rated at day 3 (mean difference (MD) -3.56, 95% CI -5.97 to -1.15; 1 study, 60 participants, very low-quality evidence). Comparing clonidine with buprenorphine in an inpatient setting, we found no difference in withdrawal symptoms rated by a physician (MD -1.40, 95% CI -2.93 to 0.13; 1 study, 34 participants, very low-quality evidence), and results in favour of buprenorpine when rated by participants (MD -11.80, 95% CI -15.56 to -8.04). Buprenorphine was superior to clonidine in controlling severe withdrawal symptoms in an outpatient setting (RR 0.35, 95% CI 0.19 to 0.64; 1 study, 76 participants). We found no difference in the comparison of methadone versus tramadol (MD 0.04, 95% CI -2.68 to 2.76; 1 study, 72 participants) and in the comparison of methadone versus methadone plus gabapentin (MD -2.20, 95% CI -6.72 to 2.32; 1 study, 40 participants).Comparing clonidine versus buprenorphine in an outpatient setting, more adverse effects were reported in the clonidine group (1 study, 76 participants). Higher numbers of participants in the clonidine group experienced hypotension at days 5 to 8, headache at days 1 to 8, sedation at days 5 to 8, dizziness and dry mouth at days 1 to 10, and nausea at days 1 to 9. Sweating was reported in a significantly higher number of participants in the buprenorphine group at days 1 to 10. We found no difference between groups for all the other comparisons considering this outcome.Comparing different dosages of the same pharmacological detoxification treatment, a high dose of clonidine (1 to 1.2 mg/day) did not differ from a low dose of clonidine (0.5 to 0.6 mg/day) in completion of treatment in an inpatient setting (RR 1.00, 95% CI 0.84 to 1.19; 1 study, 68 participants), however a higher number of participants with hypotension was reported in the high-dose group (RR 3.25, 95% CI 1.77 to 5.98). Gradual reduction of methadone was associated with more adverse effects than abrupt withdrawal of methadone (RR 2.25, 95% CI 1.02 to 4.94; 1 study, 20 participants, very low-quality evidence). Results did not support using any specific pharmacological approach for the management of opium withdrawal due to generally very low-quality evidence and small or no differences between treatments. However, it seems that opium withdrawal symptoms are significant, especially at days 2 to 4 after discontinuation of opium. All of the assessed medications might be useful in alleviating symptoms. Those who receive clonidine might experience hypotension.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 191 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Unknown 191 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Researcher 23 12%
Student > Master 22 12%
Student > Bachelor 19 10%
Other 14 7%
Student > Doctoral Student 13 7%
Other 34 18%
Unknown 66 35%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 57 30%
Nursing and Health Professions 14 7%
Psychology 12 6%
Economics, Econometrics and Finance 5 3%
Social Sciences 5 3%
Other 25 13%
Unknown 73 38%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 15. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 28 October 2022.
All research outputs
of 22,994,508 outputs
Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 12,348 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 327,847 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 193 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 22,994,508 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 90th percentile: it's in the top 10% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 12,348 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 30.6. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 62% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 327,847 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done well, scoring higher than 85% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 193 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one is in the 49th percentile – i.e., 49% of its contemporaries scored the same or lower than it.