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Pharmacists are essential to buprenorphine access
Michelle Powell 1617

Pharmacists are essential to buprenorphine access

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Today's Perspective

Kristin Wiisanen, PharmD, FAPhA, FCCP

As an age-advanced (i.e., older) pharmacist, I can remember the days when proton-pump inhibitors, H2 receptor antagonists, fluticasone nasal spray, and many other self-care products required a prescription. Increased access to needed medications without a prescription has been a huge win for patients and pharmacists alike. Currently, we are seeing increased access to medications with lifesaving potential in the pharmacy.

This month’s Pharmacy Today cover story explores the Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment (MAT) Act, signed by President Biden in late 2022, which expands patient access to buprenorphine by removing the requirement for DEA’s “X-waiver.” This waiver has prevented pharmacists from prescribing buprenorphine for OUD.

“Having the X-waiver removed pushes this one step further and really gives pharmacists in many states the full authority necessary to step up and expand the group of providers who can treat OUD and all other substance use disorders,” said James Gasper, PharmD, BCPP, a psychiatric and substance use disorder pharmacist for the California Department of Health Care Service. Currently, the vast majority of individuals who need treatment with buprenorphine are not getting it, so increased access is a much-needed step in the right direction.

In this issue of Today, you’ll also get the latest info on topical pain relievers and raspberry leaf for pregnancy, and learn about Sunleca, a new drug for treatment-resistant HIV. Find the top 10 supplements in the United States and get updates on new recommendations for diabetes treatment in patients with chronic kidney disease. Grab this month’s CPE credit and learn more about pharmacogenomics for treating mental health disorders.

Increased access to buprenorphine in pharmacies is just another way that pharmacists continue to pave the way in patient care. Whether it’s through vaccination, medication counseling, or buprenorphine, pharmacists make a difference in patient care.  Use of buprenorphine can have immediate lifesaving benefits and I am encouraged to see the importance of pharmacist-delivered care recognized in this essential area of need.

Have a great Today! ■

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