Drug Used To Reverse Overdoses Available in Calif. Without Rx
Earlier this month, the California Board of Pharmacy enacted new regulations that allow pharmacists to give patients naloxone -- a medication that reverses the effects of opioid or heroin overdoses -- without a prescription, the Los Angeles Times' "Science Now" reports.
According to "Science Now," the new rules were the byproduct of a bill (AB 1535) signed into law last year (Girion, "Science Now," Los Angeles Times, 4/17).
The law, by Assembly member Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), allows pharmacists to give the medication directly to drug users or their family members.
California's pharmacy and medical boards were responsible for developing guidelines for when and how to dispense the drug. In addition, the law mandated training and education for both pharmacists and consumers (California Healthline, 9/17/14).
Details of Rule
Under the California Board of Pharmacy's new rules, individuals may receive naloxone -- which is available as a nasal spray or injectable medication -- by asking for it at a pharmacy. In addition, pharmacists can suggest the drug to individuals who are believed to be at-risk.
Pharmacists who plan to dispense the drug are required to take an hour-long training session to learn how to:
- Educate individuals who might use the drug; and
- Screen patients for sensitivity to the antidote.
According to "Science Now," individuals who administer the drug must immediately call 911 for medical assistance ("Science Now," Los Angeles Times, 4/17).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.