Updates from the Methadone Maintenance Program

On February 1, 2014, Methadose® will replace the current anhydrous methadone solution for the treatment of opioid dependence in patients registered in the BC Methadone Maintenance Program.

New prescription pads for Methadose®

Prescriptions for Methadose® for opioid dependence must be written on the newly developed Methadone Maintenance Program prescription pad. Prescribers should return any of the former unused prescription pads to the College for secure shredding. (Physicians should keep any used carbon copy prescriptions, which form part of the patient record.)

Physicians who have not received their new methadone prescription pads by Wednesday, January 29, 2014 should contact the College at 604-733-7758 extension 2628 or by emailing methadone@cpsbc.ca.

Note: The month of February will be considered a transition period where existing prescriptions written on the old forms will be honoured until they run out. All new prescriptions for opioid dependence (i.e. those written after February 1, 2014) must be written on the new methadone prescription pads.

Reminder about patient safety concerns

Methadose® is different to anhydrous methadone solution in appearance, strength and handling. The new strength of 10 mg/ml is 10 times the concentration of compounded methadone 1 mg/ml solution and may present a public safety risk during the transition period.

Methadose® is a red, cherry-flavoured solution and, unless diluted, does not require refrigeration. It therefore resembles many other commonly used over-the-counter medications. Patients will need to be reminded that Methadose® must be stored safely and out of reach by children. This is of particular concern given the new concentration.

Patients with a true allergy to certain ingredients of Methadose® will require approval from PharmaCare for coverage of an alternate product.

The Methadone Maintenance Program makes recommendations to Health Canada regarding physicians obtaining authorizations to prescribe methadone as exemptions under section 56 of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.