Relationships between patient characteristics and unsuccessful substance abuse detoxification

Adam J. Gordon, Christopher M. Wentz, Jeanette L. Gibbon Mph, Alysia D. Mason, Paul J. Freyder, Thomas P. O'Toole

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    14 Scopus citations


    Objective: History and laboratory evaluations are common for patients entering substance abuse detoxification programs. We sought to identify if patient history and laboratory characteristics entering a detoxification program were associated with unsuccessful detoxification. Design: Retrospective cohort study of 186 patients of a residential-inpatient short-term medical detoxification facility. Unsuccessful detoxification was defined as leaving for urgent medical referral or against program advice. Results: Patients were predominantly male, middle-aged, minority, unemployed, and poly-substance users. Twenty-four patients (13%) did not complete the detoxification program (4 left for urgent medical referral, 20 left against program advice). Unsuccessful detoxification was associated with nausea and/or vomiting (p = 0.032), Caucasian race (p = 0.002), and opiates as a drug of choice (p = 0.018). Laboratory abnormalities were common but none were associated with unsuccessful detoxification. Conclusions: For patients admitted to a medically monitored detoxification facility, few patient characteristics were associated with detoxification outcome. Routine admission laboratories without clinical correlation may be unwarranted.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)41-53
    Number of pages13
    JournalJournal of Addictive Diseases
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - 2001


    • Substance abuse treatment centers
    • Substance withdrawal syndrome
    • Substance-related disorders

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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