Administrative Code

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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 18. Professional and Occupational Licensing
Agency 85. Board of Medicine
Chapter 21. Regulations Governing Prescribing of Opioids and Buprenorphine
9/18/2019

18VAC85-21-40. Treatment of Acute Pain with Opioids.

A. Initiation of opioid treatment for patients with acute pain shall be with short-acting opioids.

1. A prescriber providing treatment for acute pain shall not prescribe a controlled substance containing an opioid in a quantity that exceeds a seven-day supply as determined by the manufacturer's directions for use, unless extenuating circumstances are clearly documented in the medical record. This shall also apply to prescriptions of a controlled substance containing an opioid upon discharge from an emergency department.

2. An opioid prescribed as part of treatment for a surgical procedure shall be for no more than 14 consecutive days in accordance with manufacturer's direction and within the immediate perioperative period, unless extenuating circumstances are clearly documented in the medical record.

B. Initiation of opioid treatment for all patients shall include the following:

1. The practitioner shall carefully consider and document in the medical record the reasons to exceed 50 MME/day.

2. Prior to exceeding 120 MME/day, the practitioner shall document in the medical record the reasonable justification for such doses or refer to or consult with a pain management specialist.

3. Naloxone shall be prescribed for any patient when risk factors of prior overdose, substance misuse, doses in excess of 120 MME/day, or concomitant benzodiazepine are present.

C. Due to a higher risk of fatal overdose when opioids are prescribed with benzodiazepines, sedative hypnotics, carisoprodol, and tramadol (an atypical opioid), the prescriber shall only co-prescribe these substances when there are extenuating circumstances and shall document in the medical record a tapering plan to achieve the lowest possible effective doses if these medications are prescribed.

D. Buprenorphine is not indicated for acute pain in the outpatient setting, except when a prescriber who has obtained a SAMHSA waiver is treating pain in a patient whose primary diagnosis is the disease of addiction.

Statutory Authority

§§ 54.1-2400 and 54.1-2928.2 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Volume 34, Issue 23, eff. August 8, 2018.

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