Author(s): Rapeli P, Fabritius C, Kalska H, Alho H
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Cognitive deficits and multiple psychoactive drug regimens are both common in patients treated for opioid-dependence. Therefore, we examined whether the cognitive performance of patients in opioid-substitution treatment (OST) is associated with their drug treatment variables. METHODS: Opioid-dependent patients (N = 104) who were treated either with buprenorphine or methadone (n = 52 in both groups) were given attention, working memory, verbal, and visual memory tests after they had been a minimum of six months in treatment. Group-wise results were analysed by analysis of variance. Predictors of cognitive performance were examined by hierarchical regression analysis. RESULTS: Buprenorphine-treated patients performed statistically significantly better in a simple reaction time test than methadone-treated ones. No other significant differences between groups in cognitive performance were found. In each OST drug group, approximately 10\% of the attention performance could be predicted by drug treatment variables. Use of benzodiazepine medication predicted about 10\% of performance variance in working memory. Treatment with more than one other psychoactive drug (than opioid or BZD) and frequent substance abuse during the past month predicted about 20\% of verbal memory performance. CONCLUSIONS: Although this study does not prove a causal relationship between multiple prescription drug use and poor cognitive functioning, the results are relevant for psychosocial recovery, vocational rehabilitation, and psychological treatment of OST patients. Especially for patients with BZD treatment, other treatment options should be actively sought.
This article was published in Subst Abuse Treat Prev Policy
and referenced in Journal of Antivirals & Antiretrovirals