August 9, 2020

FDA Issues Naloxone Recommendations for Opioids and OUD Drugs

The FDA issued a new series of recommendations for healthcare professionals addressing the importance of prescribing naloxone – the opioid overdose reversal drug – with and without opioids and opioid use disorder (OUD) medications.

Opioids are often prescribed in workers’ comp, and to a lesser extent, OUD medications also appear in workers’ comp claims. As these drugs are impacted by these recommendations, it is very possible that workers’ comp claims may see an increase in naloxone prescriptions due to the following FDA recommendations.

To reduce the risk of death from opioid overdose, the FDA recommends that providers discuss and/or co-prescribe naloxone with:

  • All patients who are prescribed opioid pain relievers
  • All patients who are prescribed medicines to treat OUD
  • All other patients at increased risk of opioid overdose, even if the patient is not receiving a prescription for an opioid or OUD drug

Co-prescribing for naloxone is recommended for all patients who are prescribed opioid pain relievers, and are at increased risk of opioid overdose, such as patients who are also using benzodiazepines or other medicines that depress the central nervous system, who have a history of opioid use disorder (OUD), or who have experienced a previous opioid overdose.

For all patients who are prescribed medicines to treat OUD, providers should strongly consider naloxone co-prescriptions for methadone and buprenorphine-containing products, as well as for patients who have household members, including children, or other close contacts at risk for accidental ingestion or opioid overdose.

For other patients at increased risk of opioid overdose, even if the patient is not receiving a prescription for an opioid or OUD drug, providers should consider naloxone. This can include patients with a current or past diagnosis of OUD.

Furthermore, the FDA is requiring drug manufacturers of all opioid and OUD medications to add new recommendations to their drugs’ prescribing information regarding naloxone. This is to help drive the aforementioned recommendations into practice.

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