Update on Naloxone: Now Schedule II

Published June 27, 2016, 1:39 a.m.

Updated June 27, 2016

In response to the influx of opioid related overdoses across Canada, a great deal of effort has been invested in making naloxone available for emergency use for opioid overdose outside hospital settings. The goal of providing naloxone in community pharmacies is to increase public access to this life-saving medication. Naloxone is a non-addictive opioid antagonist that temporarily reverses the effects of opiates including, respiratory depression, sedation and hypotension. Naloxone is a safe and effective therapy: with proper administration naloxone is a drug that can save lives in opioid overdose situations when a person appropriately identifies the overdose and takes the required action.

As of June 24, 2016 naloxone, when indicated for emergency use for opioid overdose outside hospital settings, is available as a Schedule II drug. Any patient or patient’s agent (agent) are now permitted to obtain Schedule II naloxone directly from any community pharmacist without a prescription.

The College has produced a Guidance Document for Pharmacy Professionals when Dispensing or Selling naloxone as a Schedule II drug. The College will continue to monitor developments with respect to naloxone and continue to provide information about the availability of additional formulations or indications, and any other relevant information, as it becomes available.