Posted on Thursday, September 14th, 2017 at 10:29 am
The Medical Society of Virginia has new requirements for prescribing Buprenorphine for addiction. These are part of the new Virginia Laws passed in response to the nationwide opioid epidemic and huge uptick in deaths from opioid overdose. Buprenorphine, also prescribed under the brand name Subloxone, is often utilized as a means to treat heroin addiction. While it is a semi-synthetic opioid, and does produce some of the same euphoric effects as heroin and morphine, it is found that at low doses, administration of this drug allows the addict to discontinue heroin or morphine while reducing— and in some cases even eliminating— the severe symptoms of withdrawal that can be so debilitating for addicts.
There are eight steps that physicians should follow before prescribing Buprenorphine:
Prescriptions should be waivered by the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), registered with the Drug Enforcement Agency, and comply with the federal and state laws for prescribing buprenorphine. Nurse practitioners and physician assistants must also be waivered and have a practice agreement with a waivered physician.
Before buprenorphine can be prescribed for opioid treatment, the physician should conduct and document a patient assessment that covers the following:
The physician should query (ask for results of a patient search) from the Prescription Monitoring Program before starting any treatment and during treatment.
Prepare a treatment plan that includes the following:
During the induction phase:
Initiate treatment with no more than 8mg of buprenorphine, except when medically indicated if properly documented in the medical record.
The patient should see the doctor once a week
During the stabilization phase, the prescriber should increase the dosage of buprenorphine in safe and small increments to achieve the lowest dosage without causing intoxication, withdrawal, or significant drug craving.
During the course of treatment:
Make sure the medical record includes the following documentation:
The prescriber should refer the patient to a mental health service provider as defined by the Virginia Code Section 54-1-2400.1 for counseling or should provide counseling to the patient and document the counseling in the record.
Prescribers should NOT prescribe buprenorphine if the patient is already taking any of the following medications (unless there are extenuating circumstances and a tapering plan to achieve the lowest possible documentation is properly documented):
Limitations for prescribing buprenorphine mono-products
How to work with the following special treatment populations
Speak with an experienced Virginia workers’ compensation lawyer now
Many workers who are injured are prescribed medications to manage their pain. Attorney Joe Miller works with caring qualified physicians and with the legal community to understand the latest requirements that physicians must follow. He has helped thousands of injured workers get a just recovery. To make an appointment now, please call Joe Miller Esq. by phoning him at (888) 694-1671 or using his contact form.