NEJM: Despite Removal of DEA Waiver Requirement, Buprenorphine Still Widely Underprescribed for Opioid Addiction What are the main findings?

Response: Using 2022-2023 data from a national prescription dispensing database, we evaluated the effect of eliminating the buprenorphine waiver requirement. We found that the number of buprenorphine prescribers immediately increased after the waiver was eliminated. By December 2023, the number of these prescribers had risen to about 53,600, an increase of about 11,500 over the number in December 2022. Despite this increase, we found that the monthly number of patients with buprenorphine prescriptions changed very little after elimination of the waiver. We did find an increase in the number of patients initiating buprenorphine therapy, but the magnitude of this increase was very small. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Our findings suggest that the policy succeeded in reducing barriers to buprenorphine prescribing, as evidenced by the increased number of buprenorphine prescribers. However, the policy was insufficient to increase the number of patients with buprenorphine prescriptions, at least through the first 12 months after policy implementation. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Researchers should identify the most important barriers to buprenorphine prescribing and the interventions that are most effective in overcoming these barriers. 

Disclosures: I received consulting fees from the US Department of Justice for unrelated work.


Kao-Ping Chua  and Mark C. Bicket  and Amy S.B. Bohnert  and Rena M. Conti  and Pooja Lagisetty  and Thuy D. Nguyen
Buprenorphine Dispensing after Elimination of the Waiver Requirement
New England Journal of Medicine
volume = {390},number = {16},pages = {1530-1532},{2024},
doi = {10.1056/NEJMc2312906},


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