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June 9, 2020: Safety Bulletin - Delivery of Opioid Agonist Treatment during a Pandemic

The provision of uninterrupted opioid agonist treatment (OAT) is an important patient care service that pharmacies offer to treat opioid use disorder. OAT, particularly when provided as directly observed therapy, is challenging during the COVID-19 pandemic because of the need for physical distancing and because patients may be quarantined or self-isolating. To support continuity of care to patients during this time, Health Canada has issued temporary regulatory exemptions for providing OAT to allow prescribers to order OAT verbally and pharmacists to extend, renew, or transfer OAT prescriptions. Regulatory exemptions also take into account the need for physical distancing when pharmacists observe and document doses ingested by a patient and permit additional options for delivering medications to the patient's home. Following Health Canada's temporary amendments, some provincial/territorial regulatory bodies have implemented additional guidance specific to the safe delivery and observed dosing of OAT, as needed. This bulletin focuses on developing robust OAT-related delivery processes to support patients during the pandemic, limiting the exposure of pharmacy staff to COVID-19 by implementing virtual communication, and managing the risks for medication errors.  Listen to the Synopsis ...  |   Read more ...