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Opioid Agonist Therapy (OAT) guidelines now in effect

July 21, 2021

Guidelines support pharmacy professionals who provide treatment for opioid use disorder.  

ACP’s new Opioid Agonist Therapy (OAT) guidelines came into force on July 1, 2021. ACP expects that pharmacy professionals who provide OAT to patients being treated for opioid use disorder (OUD) are now compliant with these guidelines. According to information gathered by ACP, nearly three quarters of licensed community pharmacies in Alberta provide OAT services.  

The guidelines support pharmacy professionals’ efforts to address the opioid crisis by ensuring they are up to date with caring for patients with OUD. The OAT guidelines include updated terminology for the treatment of OUD and OAT to minimize confusion and make a distinction between opioid dependence and the use of illicit opioids or non-prescribed use of prescription opioids. The guidelines no longer use pharmacy-centric language that may be considered paternalistic and stigmatizing. 

The revised guidelines focus on regulatory and technical information and include direction on the use of naloxone as a tool to treat opioid poisoning. For current clinical information, the guidelines direct regulated members to external resources.  

For more background on the OAT guidelines, refer to our Link article from June 23, 2021.  

Also watch for an in-depth look at OUD and how to successfully apply the OAT guidelines in an upcoming issue of ACP Full Scale later this summer.  


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