Monday, September 28, 2015

Addiction Society Publishes New Practice Guideline on Opioid Use Disorders

The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) has released a national practice guideline on the use of medications to treat opioid use disorders. The guideline was created in response to the rapid increase in recent years in the number of people misusing and overdosing on morphine and other opioids (both prescription and non-prescription).

The guideline was developed by a multidisciplinary committee consisting of specialists in addiction medicine and other fields to assist physicians in evaluating, managing, and treating patients with opioid use disorder. The guideline provides specific and evidence-based guidance on selecting the best treatments for opioid use disorders. These include the opioid agonist methadone, the partial agonist buprenorphine, the opioid antagonist naltrexone, and the opioid blocker naloxone. The guideline also discusses the importance of pairing any pharmacological treatment of opioid use disorder with psychosocial treatment and includes recommendations for patient populations with special needs, such as those with comorbid psychiatric disorders.

“The available evidence indicates that use of medications in addition to psychosocial treatments is supported for the treatment of opioid use disorder,” the authors of the guideline reported. “Prescription of the indicated medications is not completely simple, and skill and time are required to ensure that treatment is effective and diversion of the abusable medications is not occurring. This Guideline describes aspects of treatment that should be attended to be effective.”

The APA’s Practice Guideline on Substance Use Disorders also includes a section on managing opioid use disorders.

To read about the current legislative efforts to control opioid abuse, see the Psychiatric News article “House Members Consider Best Options for Treatment, Prevention of Opioid Abuse.”

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