The Weekly Roundup: Expanding Naloxone Access (3.15.19)

March 15, 2019 | Pamela Youngberg

In a close vote, an advisory panel has recommended that practitioners co-prescribe naloxone with opioid prescriptions, and the recommendation is currently under review by the FDA. Health and Human Services has echoed the recommendation, providing guidance to prescribe naloxone for individuals at risk of opioid overdose, “including, but not limited to: individuals who are on relatively high doses of opioids, take other medications which enhance opioid complications or have underlying health conditions.” Proponents have suggested the recommendation could promote a healthy dialogue between providers and patients. However, detractors like Mary Ellen McCann, associate professor of anesthesia at Harvard Medical School, think the measure is too expensive—and potentially ineffective.

State-by-state regulations vary, but several—Arizona, Florida, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Vermont, among them—have laws mandating that clinicians co-prescribe naloxone. From a pharmacy perspective, some have led the charge (like California), standing orders have increased throughout the country, and most states have at least enacted laws to increase access. Rhode Island, for example, will be testing a program to provide addiction care at the pharmacy instead of in physicians’ offices. The development of the recommendations and programs around the opioid epidemic are still evolving, but one thing is clear: the pharmacist’s role is growing.

Here are a few other stories that might be of interest:

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Pamela Youngberg

Before she came to Smart-Fill, Pamela developed marketing strategy and content for a range of technology start-ups and large-cap enterprises. Outside the office, she's into cycling, renaissance history, cooking, and exploring the outdoors in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

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