U.S. OK’s More Anti-Opioid Drug As Congress Considers Bill

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More Americans will have access to a drug that could help treat their opioid addiction, Sylvia Burwell, U.S. secretary of Health and Human Services, announced yesterday as she pushed for Congress to approve $1.1 billion targeted at the opioid epidemic, reports McClatchy Newspapers.

The drug, called buprenorphine, is one of three medications _ the others are naltrexone and methadone _ that the FDA has approved for treating addictions to the powerful painkillers. Health care providers who prescribe the drug now must cap the number of patients treated at 100 because of fears that misusers will divert the medication for street use. The new rule, effective Aug. 5, raises that patient cap to 275. The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2015 has been approved by the Senate. Now the House is considering whether to pass it, though House Republicans have proposed reducing the funding. Most of the proposed new money – $920 million – would fund cooperative agreements with states to provide more drug-based treatment.

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