Naloxone Frequently Asked Questions
Question: What is the new naloxone law I’ve heard about?
Answer: The legislature passed a law that increases access to opioid antagonist (i.e., naloxone) to help combat the opioid overdose epidemic. The law allows two routes for easier access:
Pharmacies can dispense opioid antagonists (i.e., naloxone) based on a prescription issued in the name of a law enforcement agency, fire department, or emergency medical service (EMS) program.
Pharmacies can dispense naloxone to individuals from a standing order, signed by Dr. Patricia Quinlisk, Medical Director for the Iowa Department of Public Health.
Question: Are naloxone refills authorized by the statewide standing order?
Answer: No. Under the statewide standing order to dispense naloxone, each dispensing of naloxone must follow the completion of an eligibility assessment and training and education.
Question: How much naloxone can be dispensed under the statewide standing order?
Answer: The statewide standing order authorizes up to five (5) units or kits to be dispensed at one time.
Question: What can our pharmacy being doing now to prepare so we are ready when the naloxone rules become effective?
Answer: There are a few key things your staff needs to do to prepare.
The pharmacists who will be participating need to be completing at least one hour of a continuing education course relating to opioid overdose and treatment. See Free CE Programs Related to Opioid Antagonist Administration.
The pharmacy needs to download the statewide standing order from the board’s website and have each authorized pharmacist (upon completion of the required criteria to be authorized) sign the standing order. This needs to be on file at the pharmacy.
Research and identify in the pharmacy’s area substance abuse or behavioral health treatment programs to provide this information during training and education.
Download the Eligibility Assessment form from the board’s website.
Determine which, if not all, of the three naloxone product options the pharmacy will dispense. The statewide standing order authorizes three options, two of which are FDA-approved and commercially available. The third option is a pharmacy-prepared kit containing the components for the recipient to assemble a nasal spray delivery device
Order sufficient supply of the naloxone product(s) the pharmacy will carry.
Provide notification to customers that the service is coming soon.
Question: What are the continuing education credits required if a pharmacist wants to participate in a standing order to dispense naloxone?
Answer: The board rules being proposed would require one hour of continuing education in opioid antagonist utilization prior to participating in a standing order to dispense naloxone. The board’s website has links to several free continuing education courses to meet this requirement. Thereafter, the pharmacist would need to complete one hour of such continuing education each license renewal period.
Question: When will the naloxone rules become effective?
Answer: The board’s plan is to file the rule making with emergency adoption, so that the rules would become effective upon filing. This could potentially be within the first week of November 2016.
Question: What if our pharmacy receives a prescription written in the name of law enforcement agency, fire department, or EMS program now before the rules are effective?
Answer: In the best interest of the public, the board will not take enforcement action against a pharmacy that dispenses naloxone to an agency identified above in advance of the rules’ effective date, as the dispensing is allowed by Iowa Code.
Question: Why does the pharmacy have to send the assessment form to the public health department?
Answer: The public health department would like to collect data regarding the use of naloxone throughout the state under standing orders. The information provided will remain confidential and will be used by the department for research purposes.
Question: If my pharmacy wishes to dispense naloxone under a different standing order than the statewide standing order, do we still have to complete the eligibility assessment provided by the board?
Answer: Yes. The board’s proposed rules would require the eligibility assessment form be completed prior to dispensing naloxone under any standing order for such dispensing.
Question: If my pharmacy dispenses naloxone under a different standing order than the statewide standing order, do we still have to submit the assessment form to the public health department?
Answer: Yes. The department understands that other practitioners can enter into a standing order to dispense naloxone, but the department still wishes to collect the data.