Management of substance abuse

Second Meeting of Technical Guidelines Development Group (TDG) on Pharmacotherapy of Opioid Dependence

28-31 August 2006 - Vienna, Austria

Scope and Purpose

In response to the resolution of the UN Economic and Social Council 2004/40, inviting WHO "…to develop and publish minimum requirements and international guidelines on psychosocially assisted pharmacological treatment of persons dependent on opioids, taking into account regional initiatives in this field", the Management of Substance Abuse Team under the WHO Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, in collaboration with UNODC Global Challenges Section, has started the process of developing Guidelines for psychosocially assisted pharmacological treatment of persons dependent on opioids. According to the recommended process for developing WHO practice guidelines, a Technical Guideline Development Group (TDG) was established that consists of experts from different relevant areas of knowledge and expertise representing different WHO regions. The first meeting of TDG took place in November 2005, when the overall structure and content of the guidelines and specific issues that have to be addressed were discussed and defined, and the available evidence on efficacy, safety and cost-effectiveness of pharmacological and psychosocial interventions was reviewed. During the meeting specific areas and issues for further critical review were identified, which were addressed by the WHO Secretariat by commissioning additional reviews and drafting the main sections of the guidelines.

The main objectives of the second meeting of TDG are the following:

  • discuss the drafts of the main sections of the guidelines;
  • decide on the final format of the guidelines;
  • review the additional evidence in particular areas of treatment of opioid dependence;
  • review the available evidence on cost of programmes of pharmacological treatment of opioid dependence in different countries;
  • consider and agree upon main recommendations in the guidelines; and
  • discuss and agree upon the review process of the draft of the guidelines.

Background documents

  • Working draft of the guidelines (work in progress);
  • A systematic review of observational studies on treatment of opioid dependence;
  • Systematic review of the safety of buprenorphine, methadone and naltrexone;
  • Review of psychosocial interventions in pharmacotherapy of opioid dependence;
  • Psychosocially assisted pharmacotherapy for opioid dependence in adolescents: A review of the existing literature;
  • Draft recommendations on psychosocially assisted pharmacotherapy for opioid dependence in adolescents;
  • Pharmacotherapy of opioid dependence in pregnancy;
  • Economic evaluation of interventions for illicit opioid dependence: A review of evidence;
  • Ethical use of psychosocially assisted pharmacological treatments for opioid dependence; and
  • Patient satisfaction in agonist pharmacotherapy of opioid dependence.