Summary: Opioid crisis and opiate abuse have only worsened in recent years, despite declining rates of opioid prescription. It is no secret that many people living with OUD are not seeking treatment. There are many causes for people not seeking treatment, like clinics not taking new patients, or many are just hesitant to seek treatment. However, telemedicine now offers hope. Doctors can not only treat OUD through online apps or platforms but also prescribe drugs like suboxone, which is a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone. It is no secret that there are many reasons why so many people are not getting OUD treatment. One of the reasons is that there are just not enough clinics and specialists to treat the condition. In addition, many clinics are not taking new patients, and there are long waiting times. Another, perhaps, even more significant reason is that those living with any kind of addiction do not want to go to clinics. There is much hesitance. They think that others would not understand their problem or simply do not want to travel, seek help, and more.
However, what if we said that now you can get opioid treatment programs online and prescription for medications? Finally, many states have approved the use of telemedicine in treating OUD. It is the right step, considering the scale of the problem. Moreover, for most people living with opioid addiction, privacy is also a significant reason for not seeking help. Now they can expect to get treatment in the privacy of their home and even expect to get prescription medication. Many clinics have now launched online OUD treatment services, which are completely legal. But, of course, there are some requirements to be fulfilled. For example, DEA has made it necessary that patients should undergo live video interviews with healthcare providers and not consult via chat. These limitations are just for the first time, as later, one can keep in touch with the clinics through other means.
Currently, a drug called suboxone is approved for treating addiction through telemedicine. It means that doctors can prescribe this to those living with OUD without the need to visit a clinic. It is among the most effective drugs to treat OUD, and it is a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone. Suboxone is a very interesting medication and quite effective due to its unique mode of action. For example, buprenorphine works almost in the same way on opioid receptors as oxycodone. However, its activity is much less. Naloxone, on the other hand, blocks the effects of opioids. Generally, naloxone is not used along with opioids like medications due to the risk of some severe side effects. However, it seems that combining it with buprenorphine is safe and good. Such a combination help overcome withdrawal syndrome quite effectively and, at the same time, block some of the unpleasant effects of prolonged opioid use. Hence, it is among the most effective ways to recover. Online suboxone prescription is legal, but not in all states. Thus, if you are looking for a suboxone treatment option, you would need to check if online it is legal in your state. Of course, it is worth understanding that things are changing fast, and it is becoming legal in an increasing number of states. Thus, checking the latest information is always a good idea.
Of course, there are some other limitations of this kind of treatment. Besides the first online video interview, doctors would regularly ask you to get tested for opioid use. They would often send you a testing kit, and you will need to carry out the required tests, or else doctors can stop prescribing suboxone. These are some of DEA’s strict requirements, and everyone must stick to them. Here it is vital to understand one more important thing; if suboxone online prescribing is legal in your state, it does not mean that just any doctor can prescribe it. Buprenorphine is still a controlled substance; thus, clinicians need to obtain a special waiver from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Moreover, to avoid any painkiller addiction, there has to be a strict dosage prescription policy, both by the patient and the doctor.
By Gurpreet Singh Padda, MD, MBA