Buprenorphine-naloxone is a highly effective outpatient treatment for opioid addiction, yet few physicians offer it.
Researchers in Washington State examine barriers to prescribing buprenorphine among physicians who have been trained in its use, and they find that a lack of mental health and psychosocial support, time constraints, and a lack of specialty, institutional and partner support were commonly cited barriers.
Of the 78 physicians interviewed, only 22 (28 percent) reported prescribing buprenorphine, though almost all reported positive attitudes toward the treatment.
The authors conclude that interventions before and after training are needed to increase the number of physicians who offer buprenorphine for treatment of addiction. Targeting physicians in clinics that agree in advance to institute services, coupled with technical assistance after they have completed their training, is likely to help more physicians become active providers of this highly effective outpatient treatment.
By Roger A. Rosenblatt, MD, MPH, MFR, et al University of Washington, Seattle