Presence or Absence of QTc Prolongation in Buprenorphine-Naloxone among Youth with Opioid Dependence

Sabrina A. Poole, Anna Pecoraro, Geetha Subramaniam, George Woody, Victoria L. Vetter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Objectives: The aim of the study was to evaluate buprenorphine-naloxone effects on the QTc in youth with opioid dependence. Buprenorphine is a partial agonist that is an effective treatment for opioid dependence. Compared with methadone, it has a lower risk of QTc prolongation in adults, but is less studied in the youth. It may also reduce the risk of torsades de pointes (TdP)-an uncommon variant of polymorphic ventricular tachycardia-that can result in syncope, ventricular fibrillation, and sudden death. Methods: Secondary analysis of the electrocardiogram data from 95 individuals who participated in a multisite trial for youth with opioid dependence. The participants were randomized to a 2-week (DETOX) or a 12-week course of buprenorphine-naloxone (BUP). At baseline, 12-lead electrocardiograms were done at weeks 4 and 12, and QTc intervals were hand-measured and calculated using Bazett formula. Increases above 60 milliseconds were considered clinically significant, and readings above 450 milliseconds (in men) and 470 milliseconds (in women) indicated a prolonged QTc. Results: Mean QTc intervals were higher for BUP than for DETOX participants at baseline, week 4, and week 12 (P=0.045), and women had longer mean QTc intervals than men (P

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)26-33
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Addiction Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • buprenorphine-naloxone
  • QTc interval
  • Suboxone
  • young adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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