For 1st time in 20 years, US broadens access to methadone

Flexibilities for the opioid use disorder treatment methadone made during the COVID-19 pandemic have now been made permanent, HHS said Feb. 1, marking the first substantial changes to its regulations in 20 years. 

Patients will now permanently be able to access take-home doses of methadone, which will reduce clinic visits and increase adherence, according to HHS' Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. 

The allowance also permits methadone to be prescribed over video telehealth visits and buprenorphine to be prescribed through phone call telehealth appointments. Patients will no longer need to prove a yearlong history of addiction, either. 

The rule will become effective April 2, and the compliance date is Oct. 2, according to a notice published in the Federal Register.

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