Buprenorphine: Current Practices


I conscientious got back from the NC Society of Addiction Medicine anniversary conference. (Yes, I’ve been to divers conferences lately.) One of the sessions I attended was a sparkling discussion of the current practices in service-based prescribing of buprenorphine, for opioid surrender.

The session was run by sum of ~ units experienced, knowledgeable addictionologists, who mediated topics and shepherded the conference. One physician works in North Carolina and the other in Tennessee. The extent was packed with at least fifty clan, most of us doctors who establish buprenorphine for addiction.

Deliberations were collegial yet we didn’t agree on all issues, of course. Dissenting opinions were respected and debated.

The primary topic I can recall was from one place to another how often buprenorphine patients need to be seen. Most practitioners agreed that of recent origin patients needed to be seen at in the smallest degree weekly initially. As stability develops, we by degrees extend the time between visits to undivided month. One doctor opined that nay patient should be allowed to rush any more than one month between physician visits. When the moderator asked granting that anyone disagreed, I raised my skill, and the moderator asked me to solve.

With some trepidation, I told the assembly of hearers that I had a super-stable group of patients in my doing. I inherited most of them from a different physician who was one of the primitive in the area to prescribe buprenorphine. This dispose of patients all have over five years of perpetual and relapse-free recovery. A hardly any have been in stable recovery as far as concerns nearly ten years. These people act, and have happy and productive lives.

So yea, I do allow these patients to swallow two months between visits.

No united booed or hissed me, but I got the sentiment I’m doing something with my patients externality the realm of normal for greatest part doctors prescribing buprenorphine. Thankfully, the president made the point that we should use our clinical judgment and adjust management to best fit each situation, what one. made me feel better.

I was mulling this in addition later, and maybe I do be in possession of an unusual group of patients, who be in actual possession of been stable on MAT for in such a manner long. Some of these patients elected to stay forward sublingual buprenorphine because they are doing in such a manner well on it, and they dismay relapse if they taper off of it. Others scheme to stay on buprenorphine because they developed immersion as a complication of chronic incommode treatment. Happily, the buprenorphine works at the same time that well for their pain as it does on the side of their addiction, so we get the brace birds with the one stone.

There’s a different unusual thing about these super-constant patients: almost all of them are to involved in 12-step recovery. Many were in Alcoholics Anonymous prior to their opioid addiction. They developed absorption to opioid pain pills after receiving recipe opioids for an acute or deep-seated pain condition. Once they started forward buprenorphine to treat the opioid absorption, they continued going to Alcoholics Anonymous (a small in number go to Narcotics Anonymous).. Other patients didn’t outset going to AA until after they entered MAT forward buprenorphine.

I’ve had many lower classes write comments to my blog, furious when I even mention 12-step recruiting and MAT in the same judgment. But I have living proof in my drill of multiple patients on medication-assisted handling of opioid addiction who have been skilful to make 12-step programs work for them.

Getting back to the conference…we worn out much time discussing the monoproduct buprenorphine versus the combination product buprenorphine/naloxone. All of us agreed there’s a distress for caution with prospective patients who insist they can take only the monoproduct (this is the synonymous of the brand name Subutex), for it does have a higher road value than the combination product.

Of point of compass, there are people who inject the league product (Suboxone film, Zubsolv, etc.), only overall, people seeking to inject buprenorphine are abundant more likely to prefer plain buprenorphine. Black market prices are higher for the monoproduct than the association product, underscoring the preference for monoproduct.

One frank doctor said the monoproduct should not often if ever be prescribed. Another learned man echoed my feelings on the indefinite amount when he said something to the efficiency that some patients really do own a bad reaction to the naloxone in the union products, and if we are circumspect, we can prescribe the monoproduct. However, the ill-defined opinion was that financial reasons weren’t able to take the risk of prescribing the monoproduct.

I fall out with that, but kept quiet, already feeling like maybe I’m a scintilla too liberal.

I have had patients, secure on a buprenorphine combination product (usually thunderbolt name Suboxone films), who suddenly depraved their health insurance. If such patients had negative physic screens for years, and no story of intravenous use, I switched them to the generic monoproduct as it’s the cheapest buprenorphine product on the market. These patients could not accept stayed in treatment if I’d made them stay up~ the body the much more expensive brand names. Most of those patients bring forward the films, and when they got renovated insurance, asked to switch back to the films.

I did not distrust these patients would sell their medication with respect to profit. You have to know them, mete these patients had stable jobs and ~t any leanings toward criminality. And I am through no means a gullible person.

Since therefore, a generic combination product came onto the mart. Still more expensive than the monoproduct, it’s smaller expensive than all the name brands.

Next we discussed for what cause to deal with patients who answer they are allergic to naloxone, and thus can’t take the combination ~ion (Suboxone, Zubsolv) but only the monoproduct (Subutex).. Patients usually don’t purpose an actual allergy, but rather bigotry to naloxone. These patients report headache, nausea, etc. when they ask their cure to prescribe the monoproduct. Of race, this raises suspicion with physicians that so patients plan to misuse the medication by injecting or snorting.

Should physicians fit accept what patients say at put a ~ value, or should we say base, I only prescribe buprenorphine in connection with naloxone? After all, there’s ~t one way to “prove” a headache or nausea. There’s no standard we can order that will bestow any useful information. One doctor declared he sent such patients to a neurologist conducive to evaluation of the headache, or to a gastroenterologist to decide the purpose of nausea. He says most patients disappoint to follow through, and so he mourning such prospective patients out of his custom that way.

An audience member suitably questioned this wont, asking how could a specialist subsist expected to determine if a medication caused cephalalgy or nausea? I think it’s benignant of a sneaky way to have rid of patients who want buprenorphine monoproduct.

I hold the same fears when fielding renovated calls from prospective patients. I’ve instructed my lenient contact representative (who is also my office’s licensed professional counselor, following-hours contact person, pharmacy liaison, licensed clinical enslavement specialist, prior approval wrangler, and fiancé) to own these people that I do not order the monoproduct to new patients. I be favored with no problems saying “no” upfront to these patients, and try to unfold why I’ve made this resolution for my private practice (even though, as above, I have prescribed it beneficial to patients I know very well).

I appliance the monoproduct in the opioid treatment program where I work, because those patients drench with us every day until they be seized of a period of stability. The dosing nurses roughly slice the tablets, to minimize diversion, and patients stay without interrupti~-premises until the medication has dissolved, in addition to make diversion more difficult. These patients don’t ~ by heart any take home doses until we have ~ing they have stabilized.

We also discussed for what reason long to keep patients on buprenorphine. The base line is that no one knows. Best outcomes are seen in patients who stay without ceasing buprenorphine, since there’s still a boastful relapse rate back to opioids in patients who have lodgings buprenorphine. I ask my patients at regular times if they wish to start a slow taper, if they’ve been permanent for over a year. I don’t push them to small candle if they’re not ready, on the contrary if they are, I recommend they light slowly. From the discussion at this junction, it sounds like most of my colleagues swindle the same.

We discussed the maximum daily dose of buprenorphine. According to studies, a daily dose of 16mg saturates most of a patient’s opioid receptors, and increasing the drench to 24mg only gives about a 4% grow in the number of covered opioid receptors. Some doctors declare this shows buprenorphine should never have ~ing dosed more than 16mg per lifetime.

However, about a third of the doctors in the space raised their hands when the presiding officer asked if they had any patients who seemed to direct 24mg per day to stabilize.

I didn’t interject anything into the discussion, but I honest went to a session at the national ASAM meeting where this same rule was discussed. While it’s exact that basic pharmacology would indicate 16mg is to all appearance the just as effective as 24mg in greatest part patients, several studies have shown more fully patient retention in treatment when higher doses (24-32mg through day) are used.

It’s possible this isn’t a physiologic efficiency, but more of a mental progress. We can’t be sure. But in spite of whatever reason, if my patient does most excellent at 24mg, I’ll allow her to stay up~ that dose.

For patients on higher doses, we require to make sure they aren’t diverting some of their medication. Patients sometimes claim for a higher dose than they privation, in order to get enough medication to handle a friend, family member, or significant other. Some doctors call this “piggy-backing.” Even granting it means a suffering addict is acquirement treatment, the piggy-backer won’t increase any counseling. Also, law enforcement types appliance examples of diversion to demonstrate that buprenorphine is a unhappy street drug, contributing to the brand against patients doing well in their method of treating. Diversion threatens the whole concept of berth-based treatment program.

All in every part of, we had two hours of jocund interaction on the finer points of act of worship-based prescribing of buprenorphine. I don’t believe all doctors will agree about everything, ~-end it’s nice to hear what other physicians are doing, to travel sure I am not too remote out of line with the pennon of care.

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