A dose-effect study of repeated administration of buprenorphine/naloxone on performance in opioid-dependent volunteers

Miriam Z. Mintzer, Christopher J. Correia, Eric C. Strain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Based on its unique pharmacological profile, buprenorphine may produce less impairment in psychomotor and cognitive performance than methadone. However, the few studies that have investigated the performance effects of buprenorphine in opioid-abusing volunteers examined effects of single acute doses rather than effects of repeated dosing and included a very limited range of measures. The present inpatient study evaluated dose-related effects of repeated administration of the buprenorphine/naloxone combination product (8/2, 16/4, 32/8mg, sublingual tablets) in eight opioid-dependent volunteers on performance of a broad range of tasks, following a period of 7-10 days of dosing at each level, in a double-blind, within-subject, crossover design. The testing battery included measures of psychomotor speed, time perception, conceptual flexibility, focused attention, working memory, long-term/episodic memory, and metamemory. Supporting the hypothesis of limited impairment with buprenorphine, results revealed minimal impairment in performance as buprenorphine/naloxone dose was increased four-fold. The only significant effect of dose was an impairment in episodic/long-term memory (recognition memory) performance at the highest dose (32/8mg) relative to the two lower doses. Future studies incorporating larger sample sizes and non-drug controls, as well as directly comparing buprenorphine to methadone and LAAM are needed to further test the hypothesis of limited impairment with buprenorphine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)205-209
Number of pages5
JournalDrug and alcohol dependence
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 10 2004


  • Buprenorphine
  • Cognitive performance
  • Neuropsychology
  • Opioid-dependence
  • Pharmacotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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