Methadone and Buprenorphine for the Management of Opioid Dependence (TA114)

Technology Appraisal Guidance No. 114

Source: National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence

  • Methadone and buprenorphine (oral formulations), using flexible dosing regimens, are recommended as options for maintenance therapy in the management of opioid dependence.
  • The decision about which drug to use should be made on a case by case basis, taking into account a number of factors, including the person's history of opioid dependence, their commitment to a particular long-term management strategy, and an estimate of the risks and benefits of each treatment made by the responsible clinician in consultation with the person. If both drugs are equally suitable, methadone should be prescribed as the first choice.
  • Methadone and buprenorphine should be administered daily, under supervision, for at least the first 3 months. Supervision should be relaxed only when the patient's compliance is assured. Both drugs should be given as part of a programme of supportive care.

The guidance shown above constitutes Section 1 of the full document. A copy of the full document and a summary of the evidence is available on the Internet at

An abridged version of this guidance (a 'quick reference guide') is also available. Printed copies of the quick reference guide can be obtained by contacting 0845 003 7783 or emailing and quoting reference number N1174. It is also available on the Internet at

This guidance represents the view of the Institute which was arrived at after careful consideration of the available evidence. Health professionals are expected to fully take it into account when exercising their clinical judgement. This guidance does not, however, override the individual responsibility of health professionals to make appropriate decisions in the circumstances of the individual patient, in consultation with the patient and/or guardian or carer.

© Copyright National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. All rights reserved. This material may be freely reproduced for educational and not for profit purposes within the NHS. No reproduction by or for commercial organisations is permitted without the express written permission of the Institute.

Enquiries concerning the guidance should be addressed to: National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, MidCity Place, 71 High Holborn, London WC1V 6NA. email:

Methadone and Buprenorphine for the Management of Opioid Dependence.
Issue Date: January 2007
Review Date: March 2010

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Already registered?
Sign in

MIMS app

Access the full drug database and quick-reference tables on the go

Find out more