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Health Agencies Urge Doctors to Prescribe Naloxone

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that “opioid overdoses have quadrupled since 1999, accounting for a record 33,091 deaths in 2015” (Georgiades, 2017), which is a staggering statistic. Despite the high number prescriptions being written for opioids, the number of naloxone—the overdose reversal drug—prescriptions falls short. 


Naloxone has been on the market since 1971, but has recently become more accessible to providers, patients, and others since being offered without a prescription at major drug stores such as Walgreens, CVS, and Rite Aid (Georgiades, 2017). However, according to IMS Health, “there were 220 million prescriptions for opioids in 2015” and “. . . only 3.2 million prescriptions for the lifesaving drug naloxone that same year” (Georgiades, 2017). 


Price increases are one of the reasons for this low naloxone prescription rate, but both the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have released “strongly worded statements” asking doctors to prescribe naloxone more and asking people to pick up the drug in those states where it can be obtained over the counter (Georgiades, 2017). 




Georgiades, W. (2017). Doctors are not prescribing enough naloxone, health agencies say. Retrieved from https://www.thefix.com/doctors-are-not-prescribing-enough-naloxone-health-agencies-say