Buprenorphine patient cap increased

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Jan. 1, 2007

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Physicians certified to treat opioid abuse with buprenorphine may now treat as many as 100 patients with this drug and are no longer limited to 30 on the roster at any one time, according to legislation passed last month by Congress.

The 30-patient limit has long been regarded as a barrier to treatment with numerous medical societies, including the American Medical Association, saying it should be lifted.

"Opioid dependence and addiction is a national public health crisis and giving more patients access to an FDA-approved medical treatment that can be prescribed in the privacy of a doctor's office, just as treatment of other serious disease is offered, is a tremendously positive step forward," said Edwin A. Salsitz, MD, director of the Methadone Medical Maintenance Program at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York.

The Drug Addiction Treatment Act of 2000 restricted entire practices, no matter how large, to only 30 patients on this medication. That restriction was scrapped in August 2005. Individual physicians were still limited to that number until the passage of this legislation.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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