Buprenorphine Use in California
The use of buprenorphine by California patients increased greatly between 2014 and 2018, reports Kaiser Health News. Use of this opioid treatment medication has nearly quadrupled in that timespan, though the opioid medication methadone has consistently remained more common in the same period. The increased availability of buprenorphine is likely due to the California’s 2015 choice to eliminate doctors’ requirement to receive prior authorization before prescribing the medication. Because of research suggesting that buprenorphine carries less risk than methadone, the state pushed to increase its availability to those suffering from opioid addiction. That means not only eliminating the prior requirement, but also helping physicians obtain the federal waiver still required for buprenorphine prescription. With this concerted effort to expand medication-assisted treatment (MAT), use of buprenorphine in California has become more widespread and hopefully more effective in combating opioid addiction.