Ultrarapid opiate detoxification: A review

Alan D. Kaye, Clifford Gevirtz, Hemmo A. Bosscher, Joe B. Duke, Elizabeth A.M. Frost, Todd A. Richards, Aaron M. Fields

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Purpose: This review on ultrarapid detoxification examines the pharmacology, techniques, and efficacy of this potentially promising technique and contrasts it with conventional treatment modalities. Source: The information found here is derived from experiences at the Texas Tech University, government reports, and peer reviewed journals. Principal findings: Incidence and prevalence of heroin use is on the rise. Social and treatment costs suggest that this problem is staggering. Approximately 400,000 patients are enrolled in or are actively seeking methadone therapy. While many of these individuals want to undergo detoxification, traditional techniques, including methadone tapering are usually unsuccessful. The withdrawal syndrome is extremely unpleasant, may be fatal, and deters patients from completing the detoxification process. Uttrarapid detoxification entails general anesthesia in conjunction with large boluses of narcotic antagonists. This combination allows the individual to completely withdraw from the opiate without suffering the discomfort of the withdrawal syndrome. Unless performed properly, this procedure can be dangerous due to the sympathetic outflow. However, with proper support, this danger can be mitigated. Conclusion: Ultrarapid opiate detoxification, performed under the proper circumstances, is associated with few adverse events and is relatively comfortable for patients who seek treatment for their addition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)663-671
Number of pages9
JournalCanadian Journal of Anaesthesia
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes


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