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

18VAC85-21-70. Treatment of chronic pain with opioids.

A. Nonpharmacologic and non-opioid treatment for pain shall be given consideration prior to treatment with opioids.

B. In initiating and treating with an opioid, the practitioner shall:

1. Carefully consider and document in the medical record the reasons to exceed 50 MME per day;

2. Prior to exceeding 120 MME per 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. Prescribe naloxone for any patient when risk factors of prior overdose, substance misuse, doses in excess of 120 MME per day, or concomitant benzodiazepine are present; and

4. Document the rationale to continue opioid therapy every three months.

C. Buprenorphine mono-product in tablet form shall not be prescribed for chronic pain.

D. Due to a higher risk of fatal overdose when opioids, including buprenorphine, are given with other opioids, 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 of these medications if prescribed.

E. The practitioner (i) shall regularly evaluate the patient for opioid use disorder and (ii) shall initiate specific treatment for opioid use disorder, consult with an appropriate health care provider, or refer the patient for evaluation and treatment if indicated.

Statutory Authority

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

Historical Notes

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

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