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Methadone and buprenorphine prescribing patterns of Victorian general practitioners: their first five years after authorisation

Methadone and buprenorphine prescribing patterns of Victorian general practitioners: their first five years after authorisation

Longman, Christine, Lintzeris, Nicholas, Temple-Smith, Meredith and Gilchrist, Gail (2010) Methadone and buprenorphine prescribing patterns of Victorian general practitioners: their first five years after authorisation. Drug and Alcohol Review, 30 (4). pp. 355-359. ISSN 0959-5236 (Print), 1465-3362 (Online) (doi:https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1465-3362.2010.00212.x)

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Abstract

Introduction and Aims: The use of opioid substitution therapy (OST) is a widely used and effective treatment for opioid dependence, yet many Australian general practitioners (GPs) authorised to administer OST, prescribe to very few or no patients. This is a particular issue within Victoria that places greater reliance on a small number of active OST prescribing GPs, compared with other jurisdictions. Given the unmet demand for treatment, the provision of accurate figures on the OST prescribing practices of Victorian GPs is necessary for workforce planning. This study aimed to ascertain information on the
prescribing patterns ofVictorian GPs in their first 5 years after training, and elicit any trends that may explain their reluctance to prescribe OST.
Design and Methods: The prescribing patterns over a 5 year period of 168 Victorian GPs who became first authorised to prescribe OST during the years 2001–2004 were examined by accessing the Victorian Department of Human Services OST individual patient treatment permit data.
Results: Forty-six per cent of these GPs never held a patient permit, and at any one time, approximately two-thirds did not hold a permit.The majority of active prescribers were treating fewer than 10 patients and only 12.5% ever prescribed to more than 50 patients.
Discussion and Conclusions: The study suggests the Victorian GP workforce is inadequate to address the demand for OST. Many more GPs will need to be recruited, and
encouraged to prescribe for more patients. Further research is required to identify barriers to GP OST prescribing.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: methadone, buprenorphine, general practice, training, opioid dependence
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Education & Health
Related URLs:
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2016 09:17
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/6774

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