Key Requirements for Methadone Maintenance Treatment (MMT)

FACT SHEET

Published: June 2012

Revised: May 2018, February 2019

Legislative References:
Additional References:

College Contact: Pharmacy Practice

This Fact Sheet summarizes the key requirements for dispensing methadone maintenance treatment (MMT). Requirements for dispensing methadone for the treatment of pain are outlined in the Opioid Policy.

Background

The College recognizes methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) as an effective form of treatment for opioid use disorder and is committed to ensuring that Ontarians receive this treatment in a safe manner. Methadone must be dispensed according to the College’s Opioid Policy and the policy and guideline established by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) to safeguard patients receiving this high risk medication.
The ideal model for MMT is one which supports the integration of the patient, prescribers and pharmacist and other members of the health care team to ensure patients have access to treatment and effective transitions of care. This partnership recognizes the unique role each individual plays to ensure desired treatment outcomes are achieved, with the safety of both the patient and the public in mind.

1. Notify OCP

Community pharmacies must inform the College within seven days of starting to dispense MMT and of any changes in this information, using the approved Methadone Dispensing Notification Form.

2. Obtain required references

All pharmacies dispensing MMT must have the most recent edition of the following required references available:

Additional (optional) resources for MMT are provided in the Methadone and Buprenorphine Practice Tool on the OCP website.

3. Adhere to Opioid Policy

Pharmacy professionals are responsible for adhering to the Opioid Policy, including the specific requirements for Opioid Agonist Treatment and the expectations outlined in the CAMH Guide. Pharmacists are also expected to be familiar with CPSO Policy and Guideline.

4. Ensure staff are trained

Pharmacists should have the necessary knowledge, skills and judgement to provide MMT in accordance with the Opioid Policy, prior to engaging in this practice. The Designated Manager (DM) and at least one staff pharmacist of community pharmacies dispensing methadone must complete mandatory education and training.

Mandatory Initial Training

  • Designated Manager (DM) must be trained in methadone via the CAMH Opioid Dependence Treatment Core Course or comparable course within six months of beginning a methadone practice.
  • In addition to the DM, within one year, at least one staff pharmacist must complete these training requirements

Training update

  • Training must be updated at a minimum of every 5 years
  • For training updates, pharmacists must complete one of the following Ontario Pharmacist Association (OPA) Addictions Education courses:
  • All Pharmacists are encouraged to participate in the OPA Addictions Education program at no cost, through funding from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC).
5. Develop Policy and Procedures

It is recommended that all pharmacies have their own supplementary written policies and procedures to ensure the requirements of the relevant legislation, OCP and CPSO policy/guideline and the CAMH Guide are consistently met.

In the community setting, the Designated Manager should refer to the CAMH Guide to ascertain where pharmacy-specific operational processes and/or joint policies and procedures with the prescriber may need to be implemented. Important details and standards on topics such as dispensing (e.g. appropriate measuring devices, dilution, take-home doses, labelling, etc.), administration, documentation and patient agreements can be found within the CAMH Guide.

In the hospital setting, an interdisciplinary approach to development of policies and procedures is recommended using information from the required references.

6. Responsibility for doses (including CPSO Delegation Exemption and Transfer of Custody)

The pharmacist is accountable for the security and integrity of prepared MMT doses until custody is transferred by:

  • Dispensing directly to the patient
  • Dispensing directly to the physician/delegate*
  • Transporting to the physician/delegate* using a method that is secure, auditable, and traceable.

*Physicians may seek permission through CPSO for a “delegation exemption” to delegate authority for the administration of MMT to other properly qualified healthcare professionals in accordance with CPSO Policy.

The pharmacist must be able to identify who has care and control of the doses at any point in time (i.e. a chain-of-signatures) prior to the transfer of custody. To ensure security and integrity of the methadone while in transit, pharmacists should consider using tamper proof boxes or seals, and should avoid extremes in temperature or delays in transport.