Doctors are not prescribing a drug to treat opioid addiction because they don’t want to be flooded with patient requests for it, study says

Suboxone buprenorphine/naloxone tablets 8mg 2mg

  • Doctors are hesitant to prescribe a drug that treats opioid addiction  
  • Buprenorphine can treat addiction if a doctor has a waiver to prescribe it
  • It is the less severe of only two drugs approved by the FDA to treat addiction
  • In the past few years there has been an uptick in opioid use in the United States
  • Doctors said they were hesitant to prescribe it because they don’t want a flood of new patients
  • Those that do prescribe it have said they don’t want to prescribe more because they can’t handle more patients 

Doctors are hesitant to prescribe a drug that treats opioid addiction and withdrawal, a new survey revealed.

One of the two drugs that treats opioid addiction is being under-prescribed, especially when taking into account the spike in numbers addicted.

Most doctors said they don’t want to prescribe the drug because they don’t want to be flooded with new patient requests according to the study at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Maryland.

And among the doctors that can prescribe it, a number didn’t want to give it to new people because they don’t feel they can take on new patients.

Doctors are hesitant to prescribe a drug that treats opioid addiction and withdrawal, a new survey revealed (stock image) 

Doctors are hesitant to prescribe a drug that treats opioid addiction and withdrawal, a new survey revealed (stock image)

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‘Though it was widely believed that allowing physicians to prescribe this drug in a primary care setting would increase the number of patients receiving treatment, the number of physicians adopting this therapy has not kept pace with the magnitude of the opioid epidemic,’ lead author Dr Andrew Huhn explained.

In the past few years there has been an uptick in opioid addiction, with the most common being heroin and the powerful contaminant fetanyl.

Paul Wright shows a picture of himself in the hospital after a near fatal overdose in 2015, Thursday, June 15, 2017, at the Neil Kennedy Recovery Clinic in Youngstown, Ohio. (AP Photo/David Dermer)

Fentanyl, the drug responsible for the death of musician Prince last year, is a man-made opioid 100 times more powerful than morphine.

Opioid addiction impacts million of Americans, and withdrawal symptoms can be severe if a sufferer stops taking them.

Withdrawal can cause intense sweating, nausea, chills, diarrhea, shaking, depression, fatigue and severe pain.

DRUG OVERDOSES ARE THE LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH IN AMERICAN ADULTS UNDER 50

Figures released in June by the New York Times revealed drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death in American adults under 50.

The data, published in a special report by the Times’ Josh Katz, lays bare the bleak state of America’s opioid addiction crisis fueled by deadly manufactured drugs like fentanyl.

The figures are based on preliminary data, which will form part of an official report by the CDC later this year.

Experts warn a key factor of the surge in deaths is fentanyl, which can be 50 times more powerful than heroin.

The Times said its data showed between 59,000 and 65,000 people could have died from overdoses in 2016, up from 52,404 in 2015, and double the death rate a decade ago.

In the past few years there has been an uptick in opioid addiction, with the most common being heroin and the powerful contaminant fetanyl.

Fentanyl, the drug responsible for the death of musician Prince last year, is a man-made opioid 100 times more powerful than morphine.

The two opioid replacement methods currently used to treat addiction are:

  • Methadone, which under federal law must be dispensed from authorized clinics
  • Buprenorphine can used to treat addiction in the privacy of a physician’s office so long as he or she has proper waivers to prescribe it

Buprenorphine was approved for treatment of opioid use disorder in 2002, but in order to prescribe it physicians must apply for a waiver from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

It works similarly to methadone, but is less intense and therefore not as likely to be abused.

Both suppress addiction withdrawal symptoms with daily doses of the drug.

A physician who has a waiver to prescribe buprenorphine is allowed to treat up to 30 patients in the first year and 275 in each year following.

The team of researchers surveyed 558 English-speaking physicians in the United States over email during the spring and summer of 2016.

Each participant was asked a series of questions addressing drawbacks associating with prescribing the drug, possible resources that would make doctors more likely to get the waiver, and resources that would make those with the waiver accept new patients.

Only 74 said they did not have the waivers required to prescribe the drug. Of them, one-third said nothing would make them more willing to get a waiver.

The most common reasons for not having the waiver were not wanting to be inundated with new patient requests for the drug and concerns about people reselling it.

More than half of the people who said they had waivers and were not prescribing to capacity said nothing would make them more willing to prescribe at that level.

The most common reason for not prescribing at the maximum capacity were lack of time for new patients and insufficient reimbursement.

Participants in general said they would be more willing to either obtain the waivers or increase their number of patients if they received information about local counseling resources, were paired with an experienced provider and if there was more access to medical education courses on opioid use disorder.

An estimated 1.27 million people were hospitalized or went to the emergency room for opioid related issues in 2014. This was a 64 percent increase for in-patient care and a 99 percent increase for emergency room visits compared with 2005.

‘I think the two biggest takeaways from our research are that there are not enough physicians prescribing buprenorphine to meet patient demand, and access to counseling services for patients and mentoring services for physicians would make physicians more likely to take on new patients with opioid use disorder,’ Dr Huhn said.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-4759008/Doctors-hesitate-prescribe-drug-treating-opioid-addicts.html#ixzz4olzuVhx4
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See also:

https://www.cjr.org/criticism/opioid-crisis-photos.php

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One Response to “Doctors are not prescribing a drug to treat opioid addiction because they don’t want to be flooded with patient requests for it, study says”

  1. Brittius Says:

    Reblogged this on Brittius.

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