Other overdose-reducing treatments still available
Special to Atmore News
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the Narcan®4 mg nasal spray medication for over-the-counter nonprescription use. Narcan is designed to help reverse the effects of an opioid overdose in minutes.
Narcan nasal spray is first naloxone product approved for use without a prescription. In the next few months, Narcan can be sold directly to consumers in locations such as drug stores, convenience stores, grocery stores and gas stations, as well as online.
In addition to Narcan, naloxone is available in an injectable form and in other doses. The other formulations and dosages of naloxone will remain available by prescription only. Therefore, the standing order by State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris will remain in place for naloxone and does not expire. The standing order allows pharmacists to dispense naloxone formulations and dosages that are prescription only. Medicaid patients can access naloxone through prescription.
“The Alabama Pharmacy Association applauds the FDA’s decision to make this life-saving drug available without a prescription to anyone who needs it,” said Louise Jones, APA chief executive officer. “Only the Narcan 4 mg nasal spray version has been approved for over-the-counter (OTC) use. The Alabama current statewide standing order issued by the state health officer will remain in place as the injectable version will still require a prescription. It should be noted that Alabama Medicaid recipients have coverage for the nasal spray, but Medicaid requires a prescription for OTC products. APA, in collaboration with the Alabama Department of Public Health and Alabama Medicaid, has worked to maintain access for our state’s most vulnerable population.
“Pharmacists and pharmacy practices across Alabama who have participated in the Naloxone Statewide Standing Order have been, and will continue to be, instrumental in helping patients get access to naloxone, and other supportive therapies to help reduce the risk of an opioid-related overdose. Pharmacies are highly accessible, critical access points that allow patients, caregivers, and families to connect with their trusted pharmacist to learn more about naloxone and the risk associated with opioid medications.”
Naloxone information can be viewed at the following website: https://www.alabamapublichealth.gov/pharmacy/naloxone.html.