Talk to the Veterans Crisis Line now
U.S. flag
An official website of the United States government

VA Health Systems Research

Go to the VA ORD website
Go to the QUERI website

HSR Citation Abstract

Search | Search by Center | Search by Source | Keywords in Title

Cost and cost-effectiveness of standard methadone maintenance treatment compared to enriched 180-day methadone detoxification.

Masson CL, Barnett PG, Sees KL, Delucchi KL, Rosen A, Wong W, Hall SM. Cost and cost-effectiveness of standard methadone maintenance treatment compared to enriched 180-day methadone detoxification. Addiction. 2004 Jun 1; 99(6):718-26.

Dimensions for VA is a web-based tool available to VA staff that enables detailed searches of published research and research projects.

If you have VA-Intranet access, click here for more information

VA staff not currently on the VA network can access Dimensions by registering for an account using their VA email address.
   Search Dimensions for VA for this citation
* Don't have VA-internal network access or a VA email address? Try searching the free-to-the-public version of Dimensions


AIMS: To compare the cost and cost-effectiveness of methadone maintenance treatment and 180-day methadone detoxification enriched with psychosocial services. DESIGN: Randomized controlled study conducted from May 1995 to April 1999. SETTING: Research clinic in an established drug treatment program. PARTICIPANTS: One hundred and seventy-nine adults with diagnosed opioid dependence. Intervention Patients were randomized to methadone maintenance (n = 91), which required monthly 1 hour/week of psychosocial therapy during the first 6 months or 180-day detoxification (n = 88), which required 3 hours/week of psychosocial therapy and 14 education sessions during the first 6 months. MEASUREMENTS: Total health-care costs and self-reported injection drug use. A two-state Markov model was used to estimate quality-adjusted years of survival. Findings Methadone maintenance produced significantly greater reductions in illicit opioid use than 180-day detoxification during the last 6 months of treatment. Total health-care costs were greater for maintenance than detoxification treatment ($7564 versus $6687; P < 0.001). Although study costs were significantly higher for methadone maintenance than detoxification patients ($4739 versus $2855, P < 0.001), detoxification patients incurred significantly higher costs for substance abuse and mental health care received outside the study. Methadone maintenance may provide a modest survival advantage compared with detoxification. The cost per life-year gained is $16 967. Sensitivity analysis revealed a cost-effectiveness ratio of less than $20 000 per quality-adjusted life-year over a wide range of modeling assumptions. CONCLUSIONS: Compared with enriched detoxification services, methadone maintenance is more effective than enriched detoxification services with a cost-effectiveness ratio within the range of many accepted medical interventions and may provide a survival advantage. Results provide additional support for the use of sustained methadone therapy as opposed to detoxification for treating opioid addiction.

Questions about the HSR website? Email the Web Team

Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.