Dispensing or Selling Naloxone
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. Accidental overdoses can occur in both individuals who use opioids as prescribed by their physician, and those using opioids for non-medical reasons. 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. In the absence of an opioid, naloxone exhibits no effects and the only contraindication to the use of naloxone is in patients known to be hypersensitive to it. Naloxone does not increase the likelihood of risk-taking behaviours, and cannot be abused.
Read the College's Guidance for Pharmacy Professionals who are Dispensing or Selling Naloxone.
Read the article Naloxone: Five Things Pharmacists Need to Know from the Winter 2017 edition of Pharmacy Connection.
Naloxone is available as a Schedule II drug. Review the Pharmacy Connection article Keeping Current with Drug Schedule Changes.
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.