Predictors of retention in naltrexone maintenance for opioid dependence: Analysis of a Stage I trial

Maria A. Sullivan, Jami L. Rothenberg, Suzanne K. Vosburg, Sarah H. Church, Shara J. Feldman, Eva M. Epstein, Herbert D. Kleber, Edward V. Nunes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Behavioral naltrexone therapy (BNT) was developed to address the shortcomings of naltrexone maintenance for opiate dependence and improve compliance by integrating several empirically validated methods, including the use of a significant other to monitor compliance, voucher incentives, and motivational techniques. An uncontrolled Stage I pilot trial (N = 47) of BNT was conducted. Baseline demographic and clinical variables were evaluated as predictors of retention with univariate tests. Significant predictors were entered together into a multiple regression model. Poorer (shorter) retention in treatment was associated with methadone use and higher average bags per day of heroin. Other variables that became non-significant in multiple regression analysis included older age and depressive symptoms. Individuals with greater physiologic dependence and/or dependence on longer-acting opiates are at higher risk to drop out from naltrexone maintenance and may require a more gradual detoxification and more intensive behavioral therapy aimed at enhancing initial compliance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)150-159
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal on Addictions
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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