The federal government is set to impose restrictions on telehealth prescriptions for painkillers and ADHD medications.


The federal government is set to impose restrictions on telehealth prescriptions for painkillers and ADHD medications.

Federal Officials to Tighten Access to Drugs with Potential for Abuse

The Biden administration plans to reinstate federal prescribing requirements that were relaxed during the pandemic to tighten access to drugs that have the potential for abuse. Patients seeking a first prescription for opioid painkillers and ADHD drugs like Adderall and Ritalin will be required to see a doctor in person, rather than through a telehealth appointment. Prescription refills will still be allowed during telehealth appointments. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration also plans to tighten prescribing for less addictive drugs, such as codeine, Xanax, Ambien, and buprenorphine. These drugs will be allowed to be prescribed once via telehealth for a 30-day dose, but then patients will need to see a doctor in person to get a refill.

New Rule to Go into Effect Before May 11

The DEA plans for this new rule to go into effect before May 11, when the COVID-19 public health emergency expires. Patients will need to see their doctor in person within six months after the rule goes into effect. Other common prescriptions, including birth control, antibiotics, insulin, and skin creams will still be allowed to be prescribed through telehealth appointments.

Concerns Over Improperly Prescribing Addictive Substances

The DEA is concerned that some in a new booming industry of startup telehealth companies are improperly prescribing addictive substances, including opioids and ADHD medication. A U.S. drug overdose crisis continues, starting with prescription opioids which have given way to deadly synthetic opioids like fentanyl. Overdose deaths hit record numbers in 2021.

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