What Is Tele-MOUD?

November 6, 2022

TeleMOUD is an abbreviation for medication for opioid use disorder via telemedicine. The “telemedicine” part of teleMOUD means that patients can receive treatment remotely from their home without having to go to an in-person addiction clinic. The “medication” part of teleMOUD is a drug called buprenorphine—a medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating opioid addiction.


You may also see or hear the term “teleMAT.” The term teleMAT was coined by QuickMD in March of 2020. QuickMD became the first medication-assisted treatment (MAT) program to treat patients with opioid use disorder exclusively through telemedicine.


What are opioids?

Opioids are drugs related to opium that act on the opioid receptors in the brain. Opioids like oxycodone, codeine, fentanyl, and morphine are prescribed for pain relief, but taking them can also result in a feeling of a “high.”


What is opioid use disorder (OUD)?

Opioid use disorder (OUD) includes a number of different issues caused by the misuse of opioids. Signs that an individual has opioid use disorder include taking greater and greater doses of the drug to feel high and feeling ill when they attempt to stop the drug (withdrawal). People with opioid use disorder feel a strong urge to use opioids, despite the negative life consequences it can have.


How is OUD treated?

Opioid use disorder is treated in different ways, including therapy, education, and medication. When medication is used to treat OUD, it is called MOUD treatment. The combination of buprenorphine and naloxone is the most common prescription during MOUD treatment.


How does buprenorphine work?

Buprenorphine acts on the same opioid receptors in the brain that opioid drugs like morphine and heroin do. However, instead of being a full agonist like other opioids (an agonist is a substance that initiates a response from your body), it is a partial agonist, stopping opioid cravings and allowing patients to feel normal again. At the same time, it is also a partial antagonist (anti-opioid) that prevents feeling “high” on the medication, preventing possibly deadly overdoses caused by other opioids taken at the same time. This medication is designed to be used in conjunction with counseling.


How is buprenorphine administered?

The most common forms are tablets or strips designed to dissolve under the tongue (called sublingual).


What is the cost of buprenorphine?

The price of buprenorphine starts around $20 for 60 sublingual tablets, with strips generally being more expensive than tablets.


Where can I get teleMOUD care?

QuickMD provides personalized teleMOUD care—you can get in touch with a provider to see if you are eligible.

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