The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is proposing to reinstate federal rules, waived during the pandemic, that require patients to see a doctor in person to receive an initial prescription for controlled medicines such as OxyContin, Vicodin or Adderall.
The rules will allow refills of these medications to be prescribed over telehealth visits, the Associated Press reports. The DEA rules will also permit doctors to prescribe an initial 30-day dose of the opioid addiction medication buprenorphine via telemedicine. Doctors will be permitted to prescribe medications including Xanax and Ambien via telemedicine for an initial 30-day dose. Patients will have to see a doctor at least once in person to receive a refill of these medications.
“Medication for opioid use disorder helps those who are fighting to overcome substance use disorder by helping people achieve and sustain recovery, and also prevent drug poisonings,” DEA Administrator Anne Milgram said in a news release. “The telemedicine regulations would continue to expand access to buprenorphine for patients with opioid use disorder.”
Common prescriptions such as skin creams, antibiotics, birth control and insulin can still be prescribed through telehealth visits.
A DEA official told the Associated Press the agency is concerned some startup telehealth companies are improperly prescribing addictive substances such as opioids and attention deficit disorder medication.