A GP guide to treating opioid addiction
Pharmacotherapy for drug dependence doesn't have to be in the 'too-hard basket' - rather, it's a useful skill that will enable you to deliver holistic care.
Need to know:
- About 110,000 Australians are opioid-dependent, and approximately 50,000 people receive treatment for opioid dependence each day.
- Long-term treatment with methadone or buprenorphine improves overall mortality and reduces morbidity in patients who have opioid dependence.
- Being able to prescribe opioid replacement therapy (ORT) is a useful skill for all GPs and can be part of holistic care for patients.
- Each state and territory has specific rules and regulations about how to become a prescriber, and about how many patients you can prescribe for without accreditation. Don’t let the rules put you off — this is a life-saving treatment for patients.
- Every patient who is at risk of opioid overdose should be prescribed naloxone to keep on hand in case of an overdose emergency.
- A good working relationship between the GP and pharmacist is key to successful pharmacotherapy, as initially, the