Opioid substitution treatment in Ukraine: review of the peer-reviewed literature

Tobacco Control and Public Health in Eastern Europe. 2015;5(1):1-12 DOI 10.6084/m9.figshare.1528119


Journal Homepage

Journal Title: Tobacco Control and Public Health in Eastern Europe

ISSN: 2222-2693 (Print); 2222-4629 (Online)

Publisher: Tobacco Control and Public Health in Eastern Europe

LCC Subject Category: Medicine: Public aspects of medicine: Toxicology. Poisons

Country of publisher: Ukraine

Language of fulltext: English, Ukrainian, Russian

Full-text formats available: PDF



Mazhnaya, Alyona
Islam, Zahedul


Double blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 22 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

OBJECTIVE: To review published peer-reviewed papers regarding opioid substitution treatment (OST) in Ukraine and describe the research agenda that has been in parallel with the development of opioid substitution treatment program in Ukraine. Further, understand research gaps and future directions of scientific efforts concerning the OST implementation in Ukraine. METHODS: Literature search using standardized research terms of PubMed, Science Direct, and Google Scholar supplemented with consultations with relevant in-country researchers to identify any additional publications that were not found through on-line search. Original literature search has been conducted during August 2013, two refreshment searches were conducted during October 2013 and February 2014. Applying PRISMA guidelines we conducted the literature search and selected eligible papers. RESULTS: Eight papers were published in peer-reviewed journals specifically looking at the features of the OST program or patients’ outcomes in Ukraine. Demonstrating the feasibility of buprenorphine and methadone maintenance treatment in Ukraine was the core aim of the majority of the papers. Few discussed TB and HIV treatment outcomes and health-related quality of life (QoL). Program description and cost-effectiveness of OST in Ukraine were the topics of two other papers. Decreased injection risk behavior and high retention rates were reported for Ukrainian methadone and buprenorphine patients. Other treatment indicators (TB treatment outcomes, HIV initiation, and services utilizations) have been higher among those on substitution treatment compared to those who were not. QoL besides health-related indicators has been understudied among Ukrainian OST patients. CONCLUSION: Published papers provide evidence to conclude that OST in Ukraine is effective in terms of patients’ retention on treatment and decreasing self-reported HIV-related risk behaviors and also provides a background for wide scale-up of the program. Further research is needed to understand how the program could be improved to better meet the needs of the opioid-dependent drug users accounting for Ukrainian context.