September 21, 2021
You’ve read the OAT guidelines. Now what?
As the opioid crisis has progressed, the information available has evolved substantially in a short period. ACP’s new Opioid Agonist Therapy (OAT) guidelines are focused on the regulatory framework around the treatment of opioid use disorder (OUD) in a manner that is consistent with the Standards of Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians. In addition to these guidelines, it is important for pharmacy professionals to familiarize themselves with a variety of resources to gain a more complete perspective.
Other organizations have attempted to standardize the treatment of OUD across Canada. The following three resources provide more clinical direction on dosing, duration of therapy, and diagnoses that will help you evaluate if a treatment approach is safe and effective for your patient. There will be repetition of information between some of these three documents, but depending on your personal preference you may find one or the other easier to use.
- Canadian Research Initiative in Substance Misuse (CRISM) – National Opioid Use Disorder Guideline
- A comprehensive national guideline outlining strategies for the treatment of OUD. All pharmacy professionals should familiarize themselves with this document.
- British Columbia Centre on Substance Use (BCCSU) – Opioid Use Disorder Guidelines
- BCCSU offers central guidance for clinical management of OUD, but also provides specific guidelines for dealing with injectable OAT, as well as treatment of OUD during pregnancy and in youth.
- The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) – Canadian Opioid Use Disorder Guideline
- The CAMH guidelines are another national guideline that harmonizes information from experts across Canada.
- Alberta Health Services (AHS) – Alberta ODT Virtual Training Program
- AHS offers this training program online for free to health professionals in Alberta. The content covers the basic concepts of understanding and caring for individuals with OUD, and uses patient scenarios and educational videos to train participants in core competencies to be used in real-life practice situations. The courses are self paced and cater to all skill levels.
- National Harm Reduction Coalition – Principles of Harm Reduction
- Harm reduction is a key tenet of the modern approach to the treatment of OUD and is emphasized in ACP’s own OAT guidelines. This resource focuses on eight principles of harm reduction that help health professionals to understand and acknowledge the realities of treating those with OUD. All pharmacy professionals should review the principles and examine how they can apply them to daily practice.