Los Angeles, CA – Addiction specialists and other healthcare providers have easier access to a lifesaving opioid treatment drug now that the federal government has relaxed restrictions on prescribing it.
In April, the Biden administration announced it would loosen regulations on prescribing buprenorphine, which has been shown to prevent deaths from an opioid overdose. Providers will no longer have to undergo special training before being allowed to prescribe the drug, which has been shown to reduce opioid deaths and prevent other drug-related difficulties for users.
Muse Treatment is among the Los Angeles addiction centers that use buprenorphine-based drugs in therapy. The staff applauds the Biden administration’s action, which will make a successful treatment option available to more people in desperate need of it.
Buprenorphine is used to wean addicts off opioids. It binds to opioid receptors in the brain which satisfies cravings for opioids. More potent opioids create a high so strong, users often crave it irresistibly and keep using the drug to keep feeling good. But a buprenorphine high is much less satisfying. At the same time, it prevents other opioids from binding to receptors so if opioids are used their effects will be blunted. Buprenorphine is less addictive than methadone, and its withdrawal effects are milder than those from other opioids.
Studies have found that addicts treated with buprenorphine are less likely to be unemployed, incarcerated or diagnosed with HIV or AIDS.
For all these reasons, buprenorphine is hailed as an effective treatment for opioid users trying to kick an addiction. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 81,000 drug users died of an overdose in the United States in the 12 months ending in May 2020. It was the deadliest 12 months ever recorded for drug users.
But access to the widely praised drug has been limited because of federal regulations controlling who can administer it.
Under the previous regulations, doctors were required to undergo eight hours of specific training and counseling to qualify them for an “X” waiver. Under the new guidelines, physicians and other healthcare practitioners still must seek a waiver, but they won’t have to go through training if they are prescribing the drug for no more than 30 patients at a time.
The Trump administration had proposed similar changes to the training rules, but only for physicians. The training was still required for physician assistants, nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, certified registered nurse anesthetists and certified nurse-midwives.
Addiction experts say the Biden changes are only a small improvement and won’t eliminate opioid deaths. But they say the alteration moves in the right direction.
Muse specialists use buprenorphine as part of a comprehensive opioid-addiction program that includes cognitive behavioral therapy and medication-assisted treatment. Treatment is typically preceded by medical detox, a cleansing period in which drugs and other substances leave the body and prepare the patient for rehab. With buprenorphine, detox is a less uncomfortable ordeal because withdrawal symptoms like headaches, nausea, muscle aches and excessive sweating are lessened. A smoother detox period often lessens the chance of relapse.
Muse Treatment offers a comprehensive treatment of all substance use disorders. For help or more information, call 800-426-1818 or go to www.musetreatment.com.
SOURCE: Press Advantage [Link]