Psychosocially-Assisted Pharmacological Treatment of Opioid Dependent Adults: A Systematic Review


  • Wayah S. B. Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Science, Kaduna State University, Nigeria
  • Waziri P. M. Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Science, Kaduna State University, Nigeria
  • Onyebuchi C. M. Department of Nursing Science, Faculty of Applied Sciences, University of Sunderland, United Kingdom
  • Yahaya G. Department of Biotechnology, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Coventry University, United Kingdom
  • Chindo B. A. Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Kaduna State University, Kaduna, Nigeria


Opioid dependence, Adults, Psychosocial intervention, Pharmacological treatment, Psychosocially-assisted pharmacological treatment


Background: Opioid dependence is a conundrum that significantly contributes to global mortality, crimes, and transmission of diseases such as hepatitis (B and C), human immunodeficiency virus and perhaps, coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). There are contradictory findings on the efficacy of psychosocially-assisted pharmacological treatment of opioid dependence in adults.
Objective: The overall objective of this research is to investigate if psychosocially-assisted pharmacological therapy has significantly better effect than pharmacological therapy with regards treatment outcomes of opioid dependent adults.
Methods: All methods employed in this study are in conformity with the preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analysis (PRISMA) framework for systematic review which involve identification, screening, eligibility and inclusion. This systematic review involved PubMed literature search on randomized controlled trials published between 1st January 2015 to 1st October 2021.
Results: PubMed search yielded 5,216 articles which were screened using inclusion and exclusion criteria resulting in 19 articled being retained for data extraction. Of the 19 articles used in this study, 13 (68.4%) articles having a combined sample size of 1,928 (60.6%) showed that addition of psychosocial intervention to pharmacotherapy significantly improved abstinence from opioid abuse.
Conclusion: The outcome of evaluation of the overall evidences presented in the 19 articles used in this study is that psychosocially-assisted pharmacological therapy is significantly better than pharmacological treatment with respect to enhancement of abstinence from opioid abuse among opioid-dependent adults. Additionally, this study has provided specific combinations of psychosocial and pharmacological treatment that can produce significant beneficial effect on opioid abstinence. The huge downturn in randomized controlled trials on treatment of opioid dependence among adults has been highlighted in this study.


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