Research on quality of life (QoL) of chronically ill patients provides an opportunity to evaluate the efficacy of long-term treatments. Although it is established that opioid replacement therapy is an effective treatment for opioid-dependent patients, there is little knowledge about physical and psychological functioning of QoL for different treatment options.
Altogether, 248 opioid-dependent patients receiving substitution treatment with either methadone/levomethadone (n = 126), diamorphine (n = 85), or buprenorphine (n = 37) were recruited in 6 German therapy centers.
Sociodemographic data were collected. QoL – physical and psychological functioning – for different substitutes was assessed using the Profile of the Quality of Life in the Chronically Ill (PLC) questionnaire.
Patient groups were similar regarding age and duration of opioid dependence. Employment rate was significantly higher (p < 0.005, φ = 0.22) in the buprenorphine group (46%) compared to methadone (18%). Dosage adjustments were more frequent (p < 0.001, φ = 0.29) in diamorphine (55%) than in methadone (30%) or buprenorphine (19%) patients. Buprenorphine and diamorphine patients rated their physical functioning substantially higher than methadone patients (p < 0.001, η2 = 0.141). Diamorphine patients reported a higher psychological functioning (p < 0.001, η2 = 0.078) and overall life improvement (p 0.25).
Measurement of important QoL aspects indicates significant differences for physical and psychological functioning in patients receiving the substitutes methadone/levomethadone, diamorphine, and buprenorphine. This could be relevant for the differential therapy of opioid addiction.

© 2021 The Author(s) Published by S. Karger AG, Basel.