As awareness of the addictive potential of opioids has increased, more patients are looking for help in getting off these drugs. Studies show that buprenorphine can help people quit by lessening withdrawal symptoms.1 But unlike opioids themselves, this opioid abuse disorder medication requires a federal waiver to prescribe it.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), less than 10 percent of doctors nationwide have the waiver. Family physicians prescribe more opioids by volume than physicians in any other specialty and may be best equipped to spot the early signs of opioid use disorder because they see patients regularly. Here’s how to get certified to help patients access medication-assisted treatment (MAT) with buprenorphine:
Once you have your waiver you will also want to identify counseling services to refer patients to.
Read the full FPM article: "Preparations for Treating Opioid Use Disorder in the Office."
1. Mello NK, Mendelson JH, Lukas SE, et al. Buprenorphine treatment of opiate and cocaine abuse. Harvard Review of Psychiatry. 1993;1(3):168-183.
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