October 3, 2016 – Opiate Addiction Medicine


Anchor lead: Why aren’t more doctors using buprenorphine to help people overcome opiates? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Buprenorphine is one drug that helps people who are trying to overcome opioid addiction, but a recent research letter in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows it is sadly underutilized.  Eric Strain, a drug abuse expert at Johns Hopkins, describes the current situation.

Strain: When buprenorphine was first approved there was a limit to the number of patients that a provider could treat with it, that limit was raised after a year or two to 100, but most providers aren’t treating anywhere near 100 patients.  Now there’s a limit to 275 patients, but is that going to make any real impact because if people aren’t treating 100 patients why would they go up to 275? This article showed that indeed, there’s very very few people who are prescribing buprenorphine even up the limit of 100.    :33

Strain is in favor of getting more physicians to take on a few patients who need buprenorphine rather than creating huge practices focused exclusively on the addiction problem.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.