Methadone maintenance therapy (MMT) is the treatment of choice in opiate dependency and retention in this therapy is considered as a target. However, various studies have shown that the retention rate in this program has not been satisfactory.
To determine the predicting factors that influence patient’s retention on MMT program among opiate dependents.
This retrospective record review study was conducted among 178 opiate-dependent patients who were newly admitted to MMT program in one of Malaysian government hospital. Cox Proportional Hazard Regression was used to predict the factors that influence patients to retain in treatment within 1 year of therapy. The predictor variables were sex, employment status, level of maintenance dose, take away dose, lifetime of illicit drug used, and relapse of illicit drug during MMT.
The employment status, level of methadone dose and take away dose were significant factors of program retention in multiple Cox regression analysis. Opiate dependents who had a full-time job were 47% less likely to drop out within 1-year MMT [hazard ratio (HR): 0.53, 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.44-1.33 and P=0.047] than unemployed. Those who received a high dose (>60 mg) and allowed for take away dose were 79% and 80% less likely to drop out from the program (HR: 0.21, 95% CI, 0.08-0.53 and P=0.001) and (HR: 0.20, 95% CI, 0.12-0.32and P<0.001), respectively.
Opiate dependents on MMT should be offered with a high maintenance dose and allowed for take away dosage. Employment is strongly encouraged for them.