In Australia, the opioid antagonist naloxone can be supplied directly from a pharmacist to patients without the need for a prescription (a Schedule 3 medicine). This scheduling change has been implemented with the intention of reducing opioid-related mortality arising in the context of overdose. In a recent study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers have demonstrated that relative to states of the USA where direct patient supply of naloxone from pharmacists to patients is operating, the risks of fatal opioid overdose have been measurably reduced. The researchers conclude that although many states in the USA have passed some type of law affecting naloxone availability, only laws allowing direct dispensing by pharmacists appear to be useful in reducing fatal overdoses.
Direct supply of naloxone by pharmacists reduces overdose deaths
May 14, 2019