Agencies release guidance on buprenorphine prescribing
While counseling and other services are an important part of a comprehensive treatment plan for opioid use disorder, the provision of medication should not be made contingent upon participation in such services, the Food and Drug Administration and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration told health care providers in guidance intended to clarify buprenorphine prescribing recommendations.
“Given the elevated risk of fatal overdose without medication therapy, any difficulty in connecting patients with counseling and/or other behavioral health resources should not prevent practitioners from prescribing buprenorphine for the treatment of OUD,” the guidance states. “Evidence reveals that when counseling or other resources are not immediately available, patients can still benefit from buprenorphine treatment. While counseling should always be offered to patients, this reflects the understanding that engaging people with OUD in treatment is complex and can begin with stabilization on medication. As with any chronic condition, treatment planning should meet people where they are, be supportive, person-centered, and shared.”