Opioid overdose prevention through pharmacy-based naloxone prescription program: Innovations in health care delivery.
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Given that opioid misuse/abuse and opioid overdose have reached epidemic proportions in the United States, expansion of naloxone access programs are desperately needed. The objective of this study was to describe emerging trends in naloxone rescue kit (NRK) prescription patterns by pharmacists in New Mexico as an example of a unique health care delivery system.The study presents cross-sectional analysis of the data on NRK prescriptions by pharmacists who received naloxone pharmacist prescriptive authority certification since 2013. Data were obtained from the Prevention of Opioid Overdose by New Mexico Pharmacists (POINt-Rx) Registry, maintained by the University of New Mexico and the New Mexico Pharmacists Association.Since 2013, 133 NRKs prescribed by pharmacists have been reported to the POINt-Rx Registry. The mean age of the patients was 41.5 ± 12.0 years (range: 19-67 years), and 60.2% were female participants. Only 11.3% of the prescriptions were from pharmacists practicing in rural/mixed urban-rural areas. The majority of NRKs (89.5%) were first-time prescriptions. The most common reason for a NRK prescription was patient's request (56.4%), followed by a pharmacist's prescription of NRK due to high dose of prescription opioids (28.6%) and history of opioid misuse/abuse (15.0%). In addition to opioids, other frequently reported substances included alcohol (9.2%) and benzodiazepines (10.8%). More than a third of patients (38.5%) reported polysubstance use in the previous 72 hours.These results indicate that patients at risk of opioid overdose might feel comfortable soliciting NRKs from a pharmacist. Participation of pharmacists in rural areas in the naloxone prescriptive authority highlight the opportunity for this novel health care delivery model in underserved areas; however, the program is clearly underutilized in these areas. Such a model can provide expanded patient access in community practices, whereas systematic efforts for uptake of the program by policy makers, communities, and pharmacists continue to be needed nationwide.