Breaking News
December 10, 2018 - FDA Alerts Health Care Professionals and Patients Not to Use Drug Products Intended to be Sterile from Promise Pharmacy
December 10, 2018 - Improving dementia care and treatment saves thousands of pounds in care homes
December 10, 2018 - Heroin-assisted treatment can offer benefits, reduce harms
December 10, 2018 - People covered by Michigan’s expanded Medicaid program report improvements in health, finds study
December 10, 2018 - Hazelnuts improve micronutrient levels in older adults
December 9, 2018 - History of Partner Violence Tied to Menopause Symptoms
December 9, 2018 - Clean Up Safely After a Disaster|Natural Disasters and Severe Weather
December 9, 2018 - Drug wholesalers drove fentanyl’s deadly rise, report concludes
December 9, 2018 - Deprescribing could help manage polypharmacy in older adults
December 9, 2018 - Retraction of article “Joy of cooking too much” from journal
December 9, 2018 - FDA Warns of Rare Stroke Risk With MS Drug Lemtrada (Alemtuzumab)
December 9, 2018 - Feds say heroin, fentanyl remain biggest drug threat to US
December 9, 2018 - Eliminating microglia can reverse some aspects of stress sensitization, study shows
December 9, 2018 - New genetic insight could help treat rare debilitating heart and lung condition
December 9, 2018 - MiRagen Therapeutics Announces Final Safety, Biodistribution and Clinical Efficacy Data From Phase 1 Cobomarsen Clinical Trial in Patients With Mycosis Fungoides
December 9, 2018 - Work with your doctor to weigh pros, cons of treatment options for hyperthyroidism
December 9, 2018 - CWRU researcher secures $14.6 million funding for genetic study into Alzheimer’s disease
December 9, 2018 - High intensity statin treatment and adherence could save more lives
December 9, 2018 - Surgery patients use only 1/4 of prescribed opioids, and prescription size matters
December 9, 2018 - AXT offers Phi Optics upgrade to QPI systems for inverted light microscopes
December 9, 2018 - New booklet could help improve conditions of young pupils with albinism
December 9, 2018 - Few Physicians Work in Practices That Use Telemedicine
December 9, 2018 - Older Adults and Oral Health
December 9, 2018 - Health utility values improve after septorhinoplasty
December 9, 2018 - New EU-funded project provides insight into how the brain develops
December 9, 2018 - Expanded use of tele-emergency services can help strengthen rural hospitals
December 9, 2018 - Infections in the Young May Be Tied to Risk for Mental Illness: Study
December 9, 2018 - Profile: Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders
December 9, 2018 - Snoring poses greater cardiac risk to women
December 9, 2018 - Researcher takes further steps in understanding how and why cute aggression occurs
December 9, 2018 - Researchers create new light-activated tools for controlling neurons
December 9, 2018 - Spinal cord injury disrupts the body’s internal clock, study shows
December 9, 2018 - Babies recognize nested structures similar to our grammar
December 9, 2018 - UT Austin researcher receives $2.5 million CZI grant for neurodegenerative disease research
December 9, 2018 - Sleep problems found to be prevalent and increasing among college students
December 9, 2018 - Study reveals why some children are susceptible to the effects of maltreatment
December 9, 2018 - Study investigates influence of different opioids on driving performance
December 9, 2018 - Jazz Pharmaceuticals Announces First Patient Enrolled in Phase 3 Clinical Trial Evaluating JZP-258 for the Treatment of Idiopathic Hypersomnia
December 9, 2018 - Eliminating microglia prevents heightened immune sensitivity after stress
December 9, 2018 - Boys with social difficulties are at greatest risk of early substance use
December 9, 2018 - ‘Wrong’ connective tissue cells linked to worse prognosis in breast cancer patients
December 8, 2018 - Chronic, refractory schizophrenia patients benefit from targeted cognitive training
December 8, 2018 - Advertising in kids’ apps more prevalent than parents may realize
December 8, 2018 - New way to trace the transmission histories of rare genetic diseases
December 8, 2018 - ASH: A+CHP Bests CHOP for Peripheral T-Cell Lymphoma
December 8, 2018 - Results of pediatric genomic epilepsy tests often reclassified
December 8, 2018 - New way of controlling HIV latency to completely eradicate the virus
December 8, 2018 - Phasefocus to showcase the Livecyte 2 at ASCB
December 8, 2018 - KHN’s ‘What the Health?’ Is health spending the next big political issue?
December 8, 2018 - Mussels take in microplastic pollution fibers and flush most of them out again
December 8, 2018 - AHA: How to Stop Smoking … for Good
December 8, 2018 - Scientists overturn odds to make Parkinson’s discovery
December 8, 2018 - Health benefits of producing marula vinegar
December 8, 2018 - Failure of critical cellular energy sensor responsible for CKD progression, study finds
December 8, 2018 - Ethnicity can be reliable indicator of gut microbiota diversity
December 8, 2018 - Safe Sleep for Baby | NIH News in Health
December 8, 2018 - Study looks at ways technology can support nutritional needs of Parkinson’s patients
December 8, 2018 - Infant milk allergy is being overdiagnosed say experts
December 8, 2018 - Graphene may one day be used to test for ALS
December 8, 2018 - Houston Methodist launches real-time website to track flu cases
December 8, 2018 - RedHill Announces Positive Top-Line Results from Confirmatory Phase 3 Study with Talicia for H. pylori Infection
December 8, 2018 - A way to measure obesity and health beyond BMI
December 8, 2018 - New diagnostic tools may help identify breast cancer patients who could benefit from targeted therapies
December 8, 2018 - Duke-NUS researchers highlight possible role of bioaerosol sampling in pandemic surveillance
December 8, 2018 - Study quantifies links between alcohol, drug use and violent deaths
December 8, 2018 - Mothers’ stress levels at conception linked to child’s response to life challenges at age 11
December 8, 2018 - MIT researchers develop antimicrobial peptides from South American wasp’s venom
December 8, 2018 - Obesity prevention among low-income, diverse preschool-aged children and parents
December 8, 2018 - Mount Sinai researcher awarded $2.5 million to advance understanding of neurodegenerative diseases
December 8, 2018 - CZI announces funding for open-source software efforts to improve image analysis in biomedicine
December 8, 2018 - New book encompasses the vast history of reproduction
December 8, 2018 - Low-income women in Texas are not receiving contraception after childbirth, study shows
December 8, 2018 - Study expands knowledge about sexuality and gender gaps in political attitudes
December 8, 2018 - Drug reduces hot flash frequency, improves quality of life in breast cancer survivors
December 8, 2018 - Imaging, Biopsy Often Still Needed After Mastectomy
December 8, 2018 - Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans: 2nd edition
December 8, 2018 - Machine learning can improve chemical toxicity prediction
December 8, 2018 - Researchers explore why and how Mediterranean diet may mitigate cardiovascular risk
December 8, 2018 - Multigene test is a helpful decision making tool in breast cancer treatment, study shows
December 8, 2018 - New EZ-2 centrifugal evaporator to safely remove solvents from cytotoxic drug preparations
Some pharmacies thwart efforts to improve access to the opioid overdose reversal drug

Some pharmacies thwart efforts to improve access to the opioid overdose reversal drug

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

In response to the opioid crisis, all 50 states have changed their laws to make naloxone, the overdose reversal drug, easier to get and use.

Many states have issued standing medication orders so pharmacists can dispense the life-saving antidote without a prescription. Cities such as Philadelphia have campaigns encouraging family and friends of people at risk of overdose to carry naloxone.

Whether this is saving lives is just beginning to be evaluated, but one obstacle is clear: Many pharmacies haven’t gotten with the program.

In California, 3 out of 4 pharmacies still required a doctor’s prescription for naloxone early this year—two years after the law was changed, according to a new study by the University of California, San Francisco. Only half the stores had the easy-to-administer nasal spray in stock.

In Texas, where big chains such as CVS and Walgreens were surveyed, more than 80 percent dispensed naloxone without a prescription—but a quarter didn’t have it in stock, a study by the University of Texas found.

Why are pharmacies a weak link in this public-health effort? “Lack of knowledge of legislation, lack of required training, stigma about substance use disorder, and time,” the California researchers wrote this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association, where both studies appear.

Recognizing ongoing access issues, a Philadelphia City Council committee on Tuesday recommended a bill that would require pharmacies to have a least one naloxone pack (with two doses) in stock. Council is expected to vote on the measure next week.

“We did a survey and found 25 percent of pharmacies don’t have it,” city Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said. “We want 100 percent to have it on hand.”

Almost 50,000 people died of opioid overdoses last year, according to federal data. In Pennsylvania, the death toll was more than 5,400, including 1,200 in Philadelphia. The epidemic has turned drug overdose into the leading cause of death among Americans under 50.

Naloxone, used by medical professionals and emergency responders for more than 40 years, reverses the potentially lethal effects of opioids, which depress breathing and induce sleepiness.

Though the most popular brand, Narcan, is not cheap—about $150 for a two-dose pack of the nasal spray—public and private insurance covers the drug, and community groups supply it for free as part of prevention programs. Philadelphia has distributed 57,000 doses through such programs since June 2017, Farley said.

On Tuesday, New Jersey launched an “opioid data dashboard” to track drug-related overdose indicators. It shows that 19,809 people in the state were given naloxone by emergency responders or police between June 2017 and September 2018. That includes 600 who died.

Eventually, the dashboard may include naloxone dispensed without prescription under the state’s standing order, said New Jersey Health Commissioner Shereef Elnahal.

The finding that most California pharmacies are ignoring that state’s naloxone access law “speaks to the stigma that still exists around opioid addiction,” Elnahal said. “We want to change that with strong public messaging.”

After Pennsylvania’s standing order took effect three years ago, community health nurses raised awareness by going to pharmacies in each county.

The impact of the order “is anecdotal at this point,” said Ray Barishansky, a deputy secretary with the state Department of Health. “But we are seeing an increase in the amount of naloxone being distributed.”

Studies are beginning to measure the effect of access laws, as well as so-called Good Samaritan laws that legally protect lay people who administer naloxone in an emergency.

In states with access laws, pharmacies dispensed 79 percent more naloxone between 2007 and 2016 than those in states without such laws, one study found. Another study linked access and Good Samaritan laws to a 14 percent reduction in opioid overdose deaths.

“It’s not a magic bullet,” said Corey S. Davis, deputy director of the Network for Public Health Law and a co-author of those two impact studies. “It’s not going to single-handedly solve the overdose crisis. But all the data we have suggest the more naloxone dispensing we have, the fewer deaths there will be.”

Davis hopes the next wave of naloxone access laws will require doctors to provide a prescription for the antidote to any patient taking opioids chronically.

“That gets rid of the problem of the pharmacist not knowing there’s a standing order,” Davis said. “It gets rid of the kinds of problems the California authors have identified.”


Explore further:
Many drugstores won’t dispense opioid antidote as required

Journal reference:
Journal of the American Medical Association

About author

Related Articles