Mental Health  |  OST Prescribing Pathway - Take away arrangements

Mental Health

OST Prescribing Pathway - Take away arrangements

Methadone or buprenorphine/naloxone Takeaway Arrangements:

A takeaway dose of methadone or buprenorphine/naloxone 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.


  • The National Practice Guidelines recommend that methadone or buprenorphine/naloxone 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 Addiction Liaison Clinician for BOPAS OST team review. Once the OST service supports the requested change, a new authorisaton would need to be prepared to reflect these changes.  A copy will be sent to the GP, the pharmacy and the Ministry of Health.

Following the review any variance from the above policy needs to be documented and referenced in relation to the indicators of stability and instability.  Evidence such as proof of employment might be required to support requests for less frequent observation.


  • Every client in New Zealand must consume observed at least once weekly.
  • 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 : Thursday, January 09, 2020
Next review date : Friday, January 08,2021

Disclaimer: This site is intended to be flexible and frequently updated. While every effort has been made to ensure accuracy, all information should be verified.