Elimination of Buprenorphine Waiver Had Moderate Effect

Significant increase seen in monthly number of buprenorphine prescribers, but modest increase seen in number of patients receiving buprenorphine
Elimination of Buprenorphine Waiver Had Moderate Effect
Adobe Stock
Medically Reviewed By:
Mark Arredondo, M.D.

MONDAY, May 6, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- Elimination of the buprenorphine waiver increased the number of prescribers, but only modestly increased the number of patients in whom buprenorphine treatment was initiated, according to a research letter published in the April 25 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Kao-Ping Chua, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, and colleagues examined the changes in buprenorphine prescribing patterns in relation to elimination of the requirement for a waiver for buprenorphine prescribing on Jan. 12, 2023. For each month during 2022 to 2023, the number of prescribers prescribing buprenorphine and number of patients receiving buprenorphine was calculated.

The researchers found an increase in the monthly number of buprenorphine prescribers between January and December 2022, from 38,684 to 42,158. There was a level increase of 1,938 prescribers in January 2023 and a slope increase of 595 prescribers per month. There were 53,635 buprenorphine prescribers in December 2023. Between January and December 2022, there was a slight increase in the number of patients to whom buprenorphine was dispensed, from 810,911 to 831,656. The monthly number of patients in whom buprenorphine treatment was initiated decreased from 51,692 to 46,565 between January and December 2022. In January 2023, a level increase of 5,245 patients was seen, but no substantial slope change was seen. Buprenorphine treatment was initiated in 48,247 patients in December 2023.

"These findings suggest that the policy may have reduced barriers to prescribing but was insufficient to meaningfully increase buprenorphine use through the end of 2023," the authors write.

Abstract/Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)

Related Stories

No stories found.