Methadone Maintenance Improves Cognitive Performance After Two Months of Treatment

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Methadone maintenance (MM) has received little scientific attention regarding neurocognitive effects. The present study examined cognitive function in 17 opiate-dependent subjects at baseline and after 2 months of MM treatment. Subjects demonstrated significant improvements from baseline on measures of verbal learning and memory, visuospatial memory, and psychomotor speed and reduced frequency of drug use (Addiction Severity Index) relative to baseline, although the total percentage of urine samples positive for additional illicit substances was slightly increased. No effect of illicit drug use was observed when the sample was stratified by urine toxicology results, suggesting that improvements in cognition were not associated with additional illicit drug use. Results suggest that opiate-dependent subjects exhibit significant improvement in cognitive function after MM treatment. Future investigations are needed to confirm these findings.

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