Indian Journal of PsychiatryIndian Journal of Psychiatry
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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 62  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 322-326

Opioid substitution therapy with buprenorphine-naloxone during COVID-19 outbreak in India: Sharing our experience and interim standard operating procedure

Department of Psychiatry, Drug De-addiction and Treatment Centre, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Debasish Basu
Department of Psychiatry, Drug De.addiction and Treatment Centre, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh - 160 012
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/psychiatry.IndianJPsychiatry_295_20

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Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has been declared as a pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11, 2020. It has affected most countries of the world, including India. Both the disease and the unavoidable national response to it have posed unique challenges to our health-care system. A particular vulnerable group of patients is those with opioid dependence maintained on opioid substitution therapy (OST). These patients are pharmacologically dependent on the OST medication (buprenorphine, buprenorphine-naloxone combination [BNX], and methadone) for their healthy functioning and recovery. COVID-19 outbreak, lock-down, and difficult access to medical care, all are likely to induce stress and withdrawal, which is a potential risk for relapse among individuals with opioid dependence, who are anyway more vulnerable due to social, housing, living, and medical conditions. In this context, it is essential to re-strategize the existing OST services to adapt to the challenging circumstances. In this communication, we share our experience and formulate interim standard operating procedures (SOPs) for running a hospital-based OST service utilizing take-home BNX. The challenges, principles to meet the challenges, and interim SOPs are shared as being currently practiced in our center. Individual institutes, agencies, hospitals, and clinics running OST service with BNX can adapt these SOPs according to their characteristics, needs, demand, and resources; so long as, the basic principles are adhered to.



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