Thursday, August 11, 2011

Report Disputes Medicaid’s Buprenorphine Restrictions

Many state Medicaid programs restrict access to the use of buprenorphine to relieve withdrawal symptoms in those addicted to heroin or other opiates, fearing that the drug is costlier or less safe than therapies such as methadone. But University of Massachusetts researchers say there is no evidence to support rationing buprenorphine to save money or ensure safety, pointing out that buprenorphine has expanded access to treatment because the drug can be prescribed by a physician and taken at home compared with methadone, which by law must be administered at an approved clinic. Although buprenorphine is somewhat less effective than methadone in eliminating opioid abuse, it is more effective than drug-free treatment alone and carries less of the stigma than methadone treatment.

For more information on this topic, see the Handbook of Office-Based Buprenorphine Treatment of Opioid Dependence from American Psychiatric Publishing at

APA offers an eight-hour online course of specialized training needed to prescribe buprenorphine, as required by the Drug Addiction Treatment Act of 2000. For more information, go to

You can also read about current concerns regarding opioid abuse and diversion in Psychiatric News at

(Image: APP/APA)


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