opioid-related disorders; opioid-related disorders/therapy; opioid withdrawal; substance withdrawal syndrome; buprenorphine; baclofen; inpatient detoxification; substance abuse treatment centers


Other Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences | Other Psychiatry and Psychology | Psychiatric and Mental Health | Substance Abuse and Addiction



A significant impediment to opioid cessation or dose reduction is mitigating withdrawal severity that has been shown to affect the course of opioid dependence. Current guidelines recommend the use of buprenorphine and methadone over alpha-2 adrenergic agonists. Baclofen, a GABA-B agonist, has promising results as an adjunct agent for opioid withdrawal but has not been compared to buprenorphine. This study compared the ability of buprenorphine and baclofen to mitigate acute opioid withdrawal.


This was a single-center, retrospective chart review of 63 patients with diagnosed opioid use disorder that received scheduled buprenorphine or baclofen for 3 days, in addition to as-needed medications during 2 distinct time periods (pre-2017 and 2017-2020). Patients were admitted to the inpatient detoxification unit at Gateway Community Services in Jacksonville, FL.


The results showed that patients achieving detoxification success were 11.2 times more likely to be exposed to baclofen than buprenorphine (95% CI 3.32 - 37.83, P < .001). Completion of detoxification protocol (baclofen 63.2% vs buprenorphine 72%, P = .649) and incidence of orthostatic hypotension (15.8% versus 0%, P = .073) were not significantly different between the 2 groups.


Patients treated with baclofen had a lower frequency of secondary medication use for acute opioid withdrawal than patients treated with buprenorphine. This raises an interesting question of whether baclofen is comparable to buprenorphine for treating opioid withdrawal. A prospective, randomized, controlled trial in a larger patient population is warranted to determine this difference.