Registered Nurses and Registered Psychiatric Nurses Can Prescribe Burprenorphine/Naloxone for OAT - Information for Pharmacists
The College would like to remind registrants that BC’s Registered Nurses (RNs) and Registered Psychiatric Nurses (RPNs) are able to prescribe some opioid agonist treatments (OAT) to treat substance use conditions.
On September 16, 2020, the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) issued an order temporarily authorizing RNs and RPNs to diagnose and treat a problem substance use condition or substance use disorder, including by providing opioid agonist treatment and by prescribing pharmaceutical alternatives to illegally produced or street procured drugs.
Read the Announcement: Sept 16, 2020 - New public health order to help slow BC's overdose crisis (Government of BC)
This public health order followed a recent Health Canada decision granting a temporary exemption under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to allow RNs and RPNs in British Columbia to prescribe buprenorphine/naloxone (i.e., Suboxone or its generic versions) for the treatment of opioid use disorder. This exemption is subject to specific conditions that include meeting provincial regulations and requirements of BC College of Nurses and Midwives (BCCNM).
Information for Pharmacists
The following information originally appeared in the May 14, 2021 PharmaCare Newsletter
Pharmacists are starting to see prescriptions from RNs and RPNs for buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone®). Unfortunately, some pharmacies are unsure how to enter the claim into PharmaNet or for other reasons are not filling prescriptions written by RNs and RPNs.
Nurses’ prescribing authority was expanded in September 2020 to help British Columbians access OAT. In 2020, more than 1,700 people in BC died of suspected illicit drug toxicity. Turning away a patient can seriously disrupt patient treatment.
The prescriber IDs for RNs and RPNs are active in PharmaNet and in the current releases of all vendor software; difficulties entering claims would be due to out-of-date software on the local pharmacy system.
For more information on entering these OAT prescriptions into PharmaNet see PharmaCare Newsletter 20-019.
- News - Provincial Health Officer Issues Order Authorizing RNs and RPNs to Prescribe OAT (CPBC)
- New Public Health Order to Help Slow BC’s Overdose Crisis (Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions)
- Prescribing for opioid use disorder (BCCNM)
- Prescribing Standard for RNs and RPNs Approved by BCCNM Board (BCCNM)
- PharmaCare Newsletter – May 14, 2021