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Vol. 16, No. 1, 2010
Issue release date: January 2010
Eur Addict Res 2010;16:1–8

Why Do the Clients of Georgian Needle Exchange Programmes Inject Buprenorphine?

Otiashvili D. · Zabransky T. · Kirtadze I. · Piralishvili G. · Chavchanidze M. · Miovsky M.
aDepartment of Psychiatry, First Faculty of Medicine, Charles University and General University Hospital, Prague, Czech Republic; bAddiction Research Center, Union Alternative Georgia, Tbilisi, Georgia; cCenter for Addictology, Department of Psychiatry, First Faculty of Medicine, Charles University and General University Hospital, Prague, Czech Republic

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Aim: The aim of the study was to understand the prevalence and patterns of the non-medical injecting use of buprenorphine among drug injectors in Georgia. Method: A self-administered questionnaire was distributed among injecting drug users enrolled in Georgian needle exchange programmes. The questions covered topics related to drug use career, patterns (frequency, history, dosage) and reasons for the use of buprenorphine. Results: Pharmaceutical buprenorphine in the form of Subutex® was the most commonly injected drug in terms of lifetime (95.5%) and last-month (75%) prevalence of use. 48% of those study participants who had injected Subutex at some point reported having used it to cope with withdrawal or to give up other opioids. 90.5% of Subutex injectors used 1–2 mg as a single dose, and the mean frequency of its injection was 6 times per month. 75% of Subutex injectors had used 3 or more types of illegal drugs during the last 30 days. Conclusion: While widely misused by Georgian drug injectors, Subutex is neither the principal nor the favourite drug, and it is rather used as self-treatment. The authors consider the introduction of buprenorphine maintenance treatment to be a promising effective measure to decrease its non-medical and illegal use.

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Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in goverment regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug.
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