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Varying Rules on Buprenorphine

June 19, 2008
by Gary Enos
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Access to formulations of the medication buprenorphine to treat opiate addiction appears to depend largely on a patient's location and insurance status. Discussion boards devoted to opiate addiction treatment have had numerous postings lately about changes in some insurance procedures, such as a new preauthorization requirement for Suboxone instituted by United HealthCare. More information needs to continue to filter out to addiction professionals about the various options available to clients. A federal government resource at http://buprenorphine.samhsa.gov is helpful, but a recent check of the site showed that information tailored to physicians is not yet supplemented with similar guidance for counselors and nurses. Clinicians need to be armed with answers if, for instance, patients bring up the question of switching from buprenorphine to methadone. And it will be interesting to see how the landscape changes in the fall of 2009 when the manufacturer of Suboxone loses its U.S. exclusivity on the medication, opening the door to generics.

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That's interesting that buprenorphine will be available as a generic form next year. Isn't Suboxone new?

Gary Enos

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Gary Enos

@apeditor

www.addictionpro.com

Gary A. Enos has been the editor of Addiction Professional since its inception. He...