Notification from Health Canada on temporary authorizations to prescribe methadone to inpatients in hospital

Notification from Health Canada

The section 56 class exemption only applies when the following conditions are met: 

  • The patient must be taking methadone prior to hospitalization;
  • The practitioner must be licensed as a nurse practitioner or to practise medicine, dentistry or veterinary medicine;
  • The patient must be under the practitioner’s professional treatment at a hospital;
  • The provision of the methadone must be necessary to ensure the continuation of the patient’s methadone treatment;
  • The practitioner must not be named in an active notice of restriction from Health Canada regarding narcotics;
  • Provincial/territorial guidelines or conditions must be followed; and
  • Methadone must be dispensed or prepared by the hospital pharmacy or by the hospital affiliated pharmacy. 

For further information, visit Health Canada’s website or contact the College at or at 604-733-7758 extension 2628.

Note: If providing a discharge prescription to be filled in the community, the hospital prescriber must still contact the College for a temporary authorization, or s/he must find a community prescriber with a current authorization who is willing to issue the prescription in order to ensure continuity of patient care. 

Important reminder to methadone prescribers: Until June 4, 2017, the College will continue to recommend to Health Canada the authorizations to prescribe methadone for both opioid use disorder and analgesia. This includes full authorizations and temporary authorizations for locums in clinics or correctional centres, as well as in hospital for initiating patients (not for continuation treatment in hospital per above.)

As of June 5, the BC Centre for Substance Use (BCCSU) will be processing Health Canada authorizations to prescribe methadone for opioid use disorder. The College will continue to operationalize full and temporary authorizations to prescribe methadone for analgesia.