New guide offers naloxone-dispensing information for pharmacists

May 6, 2015

Naloxone is a lifesaving antidote for reversing opioid overdose symptoms and the pharmacist’s role has quickly expanded in managing this population.

Naloxone is a lifesaving antidote for reversing opioid overdose symptoms and the pharmacist’s role has quickly expanded in managing this population.

A new guide from the College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists (CPNP) provides pharmacists naloxone dispensing and educational information.

Bethany DiPaula, University of MarylandNALOXONE ACCESS: A Practical Guideline for Pharmacists is designed to educate pharmacists on naloxone use and administration with the goal of providing increased patient access to this life-saving medication for opioid overdose.

“This guide was created because the pharmacist role in preventing and treating opioid overdose has expanded rapidly,” said Bethany DiPaula, PharmD, BCPP, associate professor, University of Maryland, and director of pharmacy, Springfield Hospital Center, Sykesville, Md. “However, there were no guidelines to address treatment, procurement, and legal issues which are unique to pharmacists.”

Pharmacists dispense naloxone in community and hospital settings and, in some states, order naloxone directly for patients under standing orders or collaborative practice agreements, DiPaula said.

 

The guide provides information on the following patient selection, how naloxone is supplied, prescribing and dispensing, acquisition and reimbursement, storage, and supporting laws and regulations. It also addresses frequently asked questions.

“Opioid use disorder and opioid overdose are enormous issues in the United States,” DiPaula said. “Many of these patients start by receiving narcotics for pain management. However, they eventually become addicted. It is important for managed care and hospital formulary managers to understand about preventions as well as signs of opioid overdose and proper treatment as many of their patients may be at risk.”