SAMHSA Releases Guidance on Administering Naltrexone for Opioid Use Disorder
This week, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) released guidance on the clinical use of extended-release injectable naltrexone for treatment of opioid use disorder. The publication is meant to serve as a guide for primary care physicians providing information on assessing patients’ need for treatment, the administration of medication-assisted treatment (MAT), the process of patient monitoring, and considerations for whether and when to end MAT.
The ongoing prescription opioid epidemic has increased the need for opioid treatment services. Newly developed medications such as extended-release injectable naltrexone can be used to expand access to treatment of an opioid use disorder in medical office settings, rather than limiting use to specialized opioid treatment programs. The brief summarizes key differences among extended-release injectable naltrexone, methadone and buprenorphine.
These new medications can help fill the unmet need for treatment through the largely untapped resource of primary care clinicians. Many studies show that treatment of an opioid use disorder can be successfully integrated into general office practice by physicians and healthcare providers who are not addiction specialists.