Buprenorphine X-waiver to Be Eliminated for DEA-Registered Physicians

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Posted Jan 18, 2021

The U. S. Department of Health and Human Services has announced its intention to issue practice guidelines that eliminate the requirement that physicians with a Drug Enforcement Administration registration number apply for a separate waiver to prescribe buprenorphine for opioid use disorder treatment. The aim is to increase the availability of buprenorphine. However, the Federal Register notice has not yet been published so providers should not change their practices until the guidelines are official.

"The medical evidence is clear: access to medication-assisted treatment, including buprenorphine that can be prescribed in office-based settings, is the gold standard for treating individuals suffering from opioid use disorder," said Adm. Brett P. Giroir, MD, assistant secretary for health. "Removing some of the certification requirements for an  X-waiver for physicians is a step toward providing more people struggling with this chronic disease access to medication assisted treatment."

Physicians utilizing this exemption will be limited to treating no more than 30 patients with buprenorphine for opioid use disorder at any one time. The exemption does not apply to the prescription, dispensation, or use of methadone for OUD treatment.

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