US lifts barriers to prescribing addiction treatment drug

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Buprenorphine is a semisynthetic opioid derivative of thebaine.(Photo: Supertheman / Wikipedia / CC BY-SA 3.0)

(AP) — The U.S. government is easing requirements that made it difficult for doctors to treat opioid addiction using medication.

New guidelines announced Tuesday mean doctors will no longer need extra hours of training to prescribe buprenorphine, a gold standard medicine that helps with cravings.

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Under the loosened guidelines, prescribers will be able to treat up to 30 patients at a time with the drug.

It’s a daily pill, or film that dissolves under the tongue. It costs about $100 a month. A common version is Suboxone.

The new guidelines apply also to nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and several other medical professionals.