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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 903172, 7 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/903172
Clinical Study

Effectiveness of Naltrexone in the Prevention of Delayed Respiratory Arrest in Opioid-Naive Methadone-Intoxicated Patients

1Toxicological Research Center, Loghman-Hakim Hospital, Department of Clinical Toxicology, Faculty of Medicine, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Kamali Avenue, South Karegar Street, Tehran 1333635445, Iran
2Department of Forensic Medicine & Toxicology, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran 1445613131, Iran
3Department of Aerospace, Artesh University of Medical Sciences, Tehran 1781954919, Iran

Received 24 April 2013; Accepted 7 August 2013

Academic Editor: Kouichiro Minami

Copyright © 2013 Abbas Aghabiklooei et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Acute methadone toxicity is a major public health concern in Iran. Methadone-intoxicated patients are in a great risk of recurrent or delayed respiratory arrest despite the prescription of initial doses of naloxone. This study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of oral naltrexone in the management of acute methadone overdose in opioid-naive patients and check if it could be a substitute of continuous infusion of naloxone in maintaining adequate ventilation. In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, a total of 54 opioid-naive patients with acute methadone toxicity were enrolled. The patients received either oral naltrexone or placebo capsules after awakening by naloxone. All patients underwent close monitoring of respiration. Frequency of respiratory depression or arrest, need for another dose of naloxone, duration of hospital stay, and adverse outcomes compared between the two groups. The incidence of respiratory depression was significantly less in those who had received naltrexone. Our results show that single oral dose of naltrexone is quite efficient in the prevention of recurrent or delayed respiratory arrest in opioid-naive methadone-intoxicated patients. It can shorten the duration of hospitalization and, as a consequence, decreased the risk of complications. Further studies are warranted before the generalization of this approach to other patient populations.