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New Guidelines Lift Suboxone Restrictions for Doctors
The Biden administration has paved the way to increase Medication-Assisted Treatment access by reducing the barriers to prescribing a popular treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD). Last week, they announced new guidelines for prescribing buprenorphine, also known under the brand name Suboxone.
The new guidelines eliminate long hours of extra training to prescribe the drug. Doctors will no longer be required to send patients to in-person therapy. Therapy or treatment is still recommended for people who have OUD.
What Do the New Guidelines Require?
While doctors no longer have to have extra hours of training, they still have patient limits. An individual doctor can treat up to thirty patients at a time for opioid use disorder using Suboxone.
Patients will still foot the cost of their treatment, but in most cases, a diagnosis of opioid use disorder is enough to get the prescription approved by insurance companies. If not, there’s a $100 cost every month for people who pay out-of-pocket.
More Doctors Means More Suboxone Access
A vital part of the Biden administration’s order is increasing access to what is now considered a life-saving drug for people with opioid use disorder. Without burdensome training requirements, more doctors can feel safe prescribing Suboxone.
Now, in situations where a doctor encounters an addicted person – such as after an overdose or during an annual checkup – they can offer help and allow the treatment to begin immediately.
With these new policies, doctors have more flexibility in treating patients. Physicians who work in emergency room situations can help people get started with getting clean right away. In many prior cases, ER doctors had to refer people to other doctors who needed to secure treatment or a bed in rehab to issue a prescription.
While there are still limits for individual doctors, they are reasonable. A medical team can now have multiple doctors overseeing patients who need Medication-Assisted Treatment. The new policy will fill a significant gap for people in rural communities where there are fewer resources. It will also help urban areas where there just aren’t enough treatment centers.
Getting Help for Addiction
Medication-Assisted Treatment like Suboxone alongside therapy or treatment is live-altering for people with opioid use disorder. Evidence-based medicine shows that long-term abstinence is possible for about 90% of patients, which is why MAT is now considered the gold standard for addiction treatment by the FDA.
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