Mental Health  |  OST Prescribing Pathway - Take away arrangements

Mental Health

OST Prescribing Pathway - Take away arrangements

Methadone or Suboxone Takeaway Arrangements:

A takeaway dose of methadone or suboxone is any dose that is not consumed under observation at the dispensing pharmacy.

Takeaway arrangements in the GP Programme continue to be based on clinical safety and within the National Practice Guidelines. All GP prescribing is notified to BOPAS, via the required six monthly information forms.


  • The National Practice Guidelines recommend that methadone or suboxone should be observed to be consumed at the pharmacy or other dispensary on at least three non-consecutive days per week.


Where the authorised GP and the patient assess that less frequent dispensing is appropriate, this is notified to GP Liaison Nurse for BOPAS team review.

Following the review any variance from the above policy needs to be documented and referenced in relation to the indicators of stability and instability.


  • No more than four takeaway doses of methadone or suboxone per dispensing can be prescribed at any one time with at least three doses being observed to be consumed at the pharmacy in any seven-day period.
  • GPs are advised to refrain from making any changes to takeaway arrangements during the first 3 to 6 months in the GP programme to enable time to fully assess the patient and their safety with further takeaways.

*See Section 5.1 Takeaway Doses page 36 of New Zealand Practice Guidelines for Opioid Substitution Treatment 2014"

Last updated : Friday, August 21, 2015
Next review date : Saturday, August 20,2016

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