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Physicians can prescribe buprenorphine for opioid use disorder based on telephone evaluation

April 01, 2020
Area(s) of Interest: Drug Prescribing/Dispensing Public Health 


Physicians managing patients with opioid use disorder can now prescribe buprenorphine to new or existing patients based on a telephone visit as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, thanks to new flexibility announced on Tuesday by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

The new guidance allows physicians and other health care providers who have a waiver to prescribe buprenorphine for the treatment of opioid use disorder to issue these prescriptions to new and existing patients based on an evaluation via telephone. The new policy is effective from March 31, 2020, for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency.

This guidance removes a considerable barrier for many patients during the national emergency and, importantly, allows them to stay at home.

DEA had already announced that physicians may, in genera,l prescribe controlled substances to patients using telemedicine without first conducting an in-person evaluation during this public health emergency.

Read the full guidance here.

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