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Prescribing Naloxone with Opioids

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released new guidance recommending that the opioid reversal drug naloxone be prescribed to all patients at risk for opioid complications, including overdose. The new guidance recommends that clinicians strongly consider prescribing or coprescribing naloxone to individuals at risk for opioid overdose, including:

  • Individuals who are on relatively high doses of opioids;
  • Individuals who take other medications which enhance opioid complication, or; 
  • Individuals who have underlying health conditions.
In addition, the guidance advises clinicians to educate patients and those who are likely to respond to an overdose, including family members and friends, on when and how to use naloxone in its variety of forms. HHS Secretary Alex Azar stated, "This new guidance reflects our commitment to ensuring those who need overdose-reversing drugs have them and provides practical steps that clinicians, patients and the public can take to reduce the risk of an overdose."
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