Visit SAMHSA’s Web site for more information about buprenorphine and a link to the Agency’s nationwide physician locator.
Buprenorphine: New Guide for Nurses
Expanding Role Helps Physicians Serve More Clients
SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) recently released Technical Assistance Publication 30 (TAP 30), Buprenorphine: A Guide for Nurses.
Created to provide nurses with current information about buprenorphine products,* the guide also serves as a resource to help nurses working with a community’s physician prescribers to improve treatment outcomes for individuals receiving office-based buprenorphine treatment for opioid addiction.
“The guide is intended to enhance addiction management skills and promote a mutually respectful team environment,” said CSAT Director H. Westley Clark, M.D., J.D., M.P.H., in a letter to nursing professionals.
From a nurse’s point of view, the new guide is much needed in the field.
“When it comes to opioid addiction, people shouldn’t be waiting for treatment. That’s the core idea behind what we call the ‘nurse care manager model,’ ” said Colleen LaBelle, R.N., Nurse Manager at Boston Medical Center’s Opioid Treatment Center.
“At CSAT, we developed the publication with the help of nurse experts like Ms. LaBelle and their invaluable field experience,” said LTJG Sara Azimi-Bolourian, M.S.N., one of TAP 30’s writers. “The model came right from a successful opioid treatment center.”
According to the guide, providing comprehensive services along with medication is the most effective method of treating opioid addiction. It is important that buprenorphine be administered in conjunction with behavioral therapy and psychosocial support to ensure medication compliance and to help patients stay with the program.
“The ultimate success of buprenorphine will depend on the medication’s integration into a broader continuum of primary care services that includes counseling for patients with substance use disorders,” said Robert Lubran, Director of CSAT’s Division of Pharmacologic Therapies.
In the future, according to the guide, nurses in all settings may be called upon to work with individuals undergoing treatment for opioid addiction with buprenorphine products. With physicians, nurses can help to improve treatment outcomes by providing behavioral counseling.
To order a copy of TAP 30, call SAMHSA’s Health Information Network at 1-877-SAMHSA-7 (1-877-726-4727). Ask for publication number SMA09-4376. Download a copy of the publication from SAMHSA’s Web site.
The guide is intended to:
- Provide nurses with basic information on the pharmacology, safety, adverse effects, interactions, cautions, and abuse potential of buprenorphine products.*
- Increase nurses’ factual knowledge on protocols for the use of buprenorphine products in medically supervised withdrawal (detoxification) and maintenance treatment services.
- Help nurses, together with authorized physicians, design strategies for providing comprehensive physical and psychosocial assessments, treatment monitoring, and appropriate referral for opioid addiction, and co-occurring medical and psychiatric conditions.
- Offer practical guidance for patient screening, assessment, induction, stabilization, and prevention of precipitated withdrawal in medically supervised “detoxification” or maintenance treatment services.
*Note: Buprenorphine products include Suboxone® (buprenorphine and naloxone) and Subutex® (buprenorphine) for the pharmacological treatment of opioid addiction.