Heroin reduces startle and cortisol response in opioid-maintained heroin-dependent patients

Walter, Marc and Wiesbeck, Gerhard A. and Degen, Bigna and Albrich, Jürgen and Oppel, Monika and Schulz, André and Schächinger, Hartmut and Dürsteler-MacFarland, Kenneth M.. (2011) Heroin reduces startle and cortisol response in opioid-maintained heroin-dependent patients. Addiction biology, Vol. 16, H. 1. pp. 145-151.

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/dok/A6006256

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Heroin dependence (HD) is a chronic relapsing brain disorder characterized by a compulsion to seek and use heroin. Stress is seen as a key factor for heroin use. Methadone maintenance and the prescription of pharmaceutical heroin [diacetylmorphine (DAM)] are established treatments for HD in several countries. The present study examined whether DAM-maintained patients and methadone-maintained patients differ from healthy controls in startle reflex and cortisol levels. Fifty-seven participants, 19 of each group matched for age, sex and smoking status, completed a startle session which included the presentation of 24 bursts of white noise while eye-blink responses to startling noises were recorded. Salivary cortisol was collected three times after awakening, before, during and after the startle session. DAM was administered before the experiment, while methadone was administered afterwards. Both heroin-dependent patient groups exhibited significantly smaller startle responses than healthy controls (P > 0.05). Whereas the cortisol levels after awakening did not differ across the three groups, the experimental cortisol levels were significantly lower in DAM-maintained patients, who received their opioid before the experiment, than in methadone-maintained patients and healthy controls (P > 0.0001). Opioid maintenance treatment for HD is associated with reduced startle responses. Acute DAM administration may suppress cortisol levels, and DAM maintenance treatment may represent an effective alternative to methadone in stress-sensitive, heroin-dependent patients.
Faculties and Departments:03 Faculty of Medicine > Bereich Psychiatrie (Klinik) > Erwachsenenpsychiatrie UPK > Erwachsenenpsychiatrie (Lang)
03 Faculty of Medicine > Departement Klinische Forschung > Bereich Psychiatrie (Klinik) > Erwachsenenpsychiatrie UPK > Erwachsenenpsychiatrie (Lang)
UniBasel Contributors:Wiesbeck, Gerhard A. and Walter, Marc
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:27 Mar 2014 13:13
Deposited On:27 Mar 2014 13:13

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