Treating patients who have opioid use disorder well with medication requires skill and time that generally are not available to primary care physicians, according to the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM). This may be one factor among many contributing to the epidemic levels of untreated opioid abuse. Few other physicians are willing to provide care to these patients and so access to life-saving medications is even further restricted.
Unlike existing guidelines on the management of opioid use disorder, the recently published ASAM Practice Guideline addresses all the medications currently used for treatment. In addition, more attention is paid to persons who have special needs, such as pregnant women, persons with co-occurring psychiatric disorders, those with pain, adolescents, and incarcerated persons.
The ASAM notes it hopes that the guideline will be used as a tool that will allow more physicians to provide effective treatment.
Kampman K, Jarvis M. American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) National Practice Guideline for the Use of Medications in the Treatment of Addiction Involving Opioid Use. J Addict Med. 2015;9:358-367.
Kleber HD, Weiss RD, Anton RF Jr, et al; Work Group on Substance Use Disorders. Practice Guideline for the Treatment of Patients With Substance Use Disorders. Second Edition. American Psychiatric Association; 2010.
ASAM Releases National Practice Guideline for the Use of Medications in the Treatment of Addiction Involving Opioid Use. [press release]. Chevy Chase, MD: American Society of Addiction Medicine; June 2, 2015.