A report commissioned by the American Society of Addiction Medicine found that Medicaid agencies in just 28 states cover all three of medications that the Food and Drug Administration has approved for opioid addiction treatment: methadone, buprenorphine and naltrexone. The study also found that most state Medicaid agencies, even those that cover all three medications, place restrictions on getting them by requiring prior authorization and re-authorization, imposing lifetime limitations and tapering dosage strengths. The study was done by the substance abuse research firm Avisa Group…
The Evidence Against Methadone as a “Preferred” Analgesic: A Position Statement from the American Academy of Pain Medicine (2014)
The use of methadone as an analgesic for severe chronic pain has expanded in recent years.
It is effective for some patients, but has unique pharmacologic properties that call for
caution and expertise in administering it. Methadone shows up in mortality reports with
greater frequency than should be expected given the small number of prescriptions written
compared with other opioids. Despite this evidence of risk, most states have designated
methadone as a preferred analgesic, presumably because its low cost results in savings for
publicly-funded health plans…
While Medicaid pushes methadone on pain patients, it rarely allows this drug’s use to treat addiction. The result is poisonings and deaths in pain patients, and the deaths of those who suffer from addiction because they had to choose other drugs for treatment (usually illegal ones).