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Can a LPN dispense Suboxone, a medication where you need to monitor the patient for two hours after the first dose?

Thursday August 30, 2012
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Dear Donna,

Can a LPN dispense Suboxone, which is a medication where you need to monitor the patient for two hours after the first dose?


Dear Donna replies:

Dear Inquisitive,

The dispensing of a drug like Soboxone (a narcotic used to treat opioid addiction) by LPNs is governed by the state nurse practice act and your facility or employer's written policy, although the former trumps the latter. Any follow-up observation or monitoring should be governed by employer policy also. You don't mention if this is in an inpatient or outpatient setting or in the home. That might make a difference. You can check with your employer's nurse educator, quality assurance or risk management coordinator, or other practice coordinator or supervisor. You also can consult with a nurse attorney in your state if you need to investigate this further.

You might try emailing or calling your state board of nursing with this question or a local chapter of the International Nurses Society on Addictions (www.intnsa.org) to see if they can offer information about this practice.

Best wishes,

Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is Nurse.com’s “Dear Donna” and author of “Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional” and “The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career.” Information about the books is available at www.Nurse.com/CE/7010 and www.Nurse.com/CE/7250, respectively. To ask Donna your question, go to www.Nurse.com/Asktheexperts/Deardonna. Find a “Dear Donna” seminar near you: Call 800-866-0919 or visit http://Events.nursingspectrum.com/Seminar.