Buprenorphine is an opioid partial agonist that is effective for many in the treatment of opioid use disorder. Similarly, to methadone, buprenorphine is a controlled substance, and has the potential for misuse and diversion. However, unlike methadone it is less likely to overdose on buprenorphine unless combined with other sedatives.
Buprenorphine can be prescribed in Opioid Treatment Programs or in a primary care provider’s medical office by a healthcare provider who has completed the required eight-hour MAT waiver course and is certified by SAMHSA to prescribe. Waiver trainings are available to medical providers at no cost, funded by the PCSS-MAT grant. Learn more about how to access free waiver trainings offered by PCSS-MAT. At this time, only physicians are able to prescribe buprenorphine, but nurse practitioners and physicians assistants will soon have prescribing privileges, pending specific requirements as defined by Secretary of Health. The federal government recently increased the prescribing cap for waivered physicians currently prescribing 100 patients to be eligible to prescribe up to 275 patients, see Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) of 2016. Physicians who are currently prescribing up to 100 patients may apply to SAMHSA for an increase to 275.