Treatment and outcomes at Takiwasi Center, a Peruvian therapeutic community: identifying patient-related indicators

Victoria Defelippe, Anna Schlutter, Annelen Meriaan, Bjorn Winkens, Veronika Kavenska, Gary Saucedo Rojas, Matteo Politi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose - Substance abuse is a major public health concern, with over millions of people suffering from it worldwide. Although there is an abundance of treatment options, many of these rehabilitative trajectories are subject to "drop-out". In addition, "drop-out" is a significant risk factor for relapse. There is an urgent demand for effective treatment, which would enable patients to reduce abuse and prevent relapse. Takiwasi is an addiction treatment centre that combines traditional Amazonian plant medicine with conventional western medicine and psychotherapy. The purpose of this paper is to explore whether socio-demographics factors, such as education level and occupation, psychiatric comorbidities and primary drug use, are associated with treatment non-completion of Ayahuasca (AYA)-assisted addiction therapy.

Design/methodology/approach - Data on the first treatment episode of 121 patients were collected from the patient database from the years 2012 to 2017. To determine whether there is an association between the variables of interest and treatment non-completion, a chi(2) analysis and a logistic regression analysis were performed.

Findings - Of the 121 patients analysed, 48.2 per cent completed their treatment, whilst 51.8 per cent did not. Students compared to those who are employed showed significantly higher odds for treatment non-completion (p = 0.006; OR = 3.7; 95% CI = 1.5-9.6). Other variables in the multivariable analysis showed no significant relationship with treatment non-completion. While several limitations restricted the study, the findings suggest that the AYA-assisted treatment in Takiwasi may benefit from additional support for patients who are students. Moreover, it is advised to conduct more long-term follow-up of patients in order to gain better insight into the outcome of treatment at an AYA-assisted treatment centre.

Originality/value - It appears that AYA-assisted therapy in a therapeutic community is a feasible type of treatment for addiction, for which further studies should elucidate the role of motivation in relation to socio-demographic factors and type of addiction in the risk of treatment non-completion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-106
Number of pages14
JournalTherapeutic Communities
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Therapeutic communities
  • Inpatient
  • Substance dependence
  • Substance use treatment
  • Traditional medicine
  • Treatment drop out


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