Open Access Highly Accessed Study protocol

The Leeds Evaluation of Efficacy of Detoxification Study (LEEDS) project: An open-label pragmatic randomised control trial comparing the efficacy of differing therapeutic agents for primary care detoxification from either street heroin or methadone [ISRCTN07752728]

Nicola S Oldham1, Nat MJ Wright2*, Clive E Adams3, Laura Sheard2 and Charlotte NE Tompkins4

Author Affiliations

1 NFA Health Centre for Homeless People, Leeds, UK

2 Centre for Research in Primary Care, Hallas Wing, 71-75 Clarendon Road, Leeds, UK

3 The Cochrane Schizophrenia Group, Academic Unit of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK

4 NFA Health Centre for Homeless People & Centre for Research in Primary Care, Leeds, UK

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BMC Family Practice 2004, 5:9  doi:10.1186/1471-2296-5-9

Published: 29 April 2004



Heroin is a synthetic opioid with an extensive illicit market leading to large numbers of people becoming addicted. Heroin users often present to community treatment services requesting detoxification and in the UK various agents are used to control symptoms of withdrawal. Dissatisfaction with methadone detoxification [8] has lead to the use of clonidine, lofexidine, buprenorphine and dihydrocodeine; however, there remains limited evaluative research. In Leeds, a city of 700,000 people in the North of England, dihydrocodeine is the detoxification agent of choice. Sublingual buprenorphine, however, is being introduced. The comparative value of these two drugs for helping people successfully and comfortably withdraw from heroin has never been compared in a randomised trial. Additionally, there is a paucity of research evaluating interventions among drug users in the primary care setting. This study seeks to address this by randomising drug users presenting in primary care to receive either dihydrocodeine or buprenorphine.


The Leeds Evaluation of Efficacy of Detoxification Study (LEEDS) project is a pragmatic randomised trial which will compare the open use of buprenorphine with dihydrocodeine for illicit opiate detoxification, in the UK primary care setting. The LEEDS project will involve consenting adults and will be run in specialist general practice surgeries throughout Leeds. The primary outcome will be the results of a urine opiate screening at the end of the detoxification regimen. Adverse effects and limited data to three and six months will be acquired.