Naloxone Frequently Asked Questions
Question: What are the ways by which a pharmacy can dispense naloxone?
Answer: The legislature passed two laws that increase access to opioid antagonist (i.e., naloxone) to help combat the opioid overdose epidemic. The laws allow multiple 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. Caitlyn Pedati, Medical Director for the Iowa Department of Public Health.
Pharmacies can dispense naloxone to individuals from a statewide protocol, issued by the Board of Pharmacy, in consultation with the Iowa Department of Public Health.
Question: Are naloxone refills authorized by the statewide standing order or the Board's statewide protocol?
Answer: No. Under the statewide standing order and statewide protocol 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 do to participate in either the statewide standing order or statewide protocol?
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.
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. Alternatively, the pharmacy can download the statewide protocol from the board’s website to have on file at the pharmacy for dispensing naloxone.
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 naloxone product options the pharmacy will dispense, according to the order or protocol the pharmacy will be dispensing from. 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. The board's statewide protocol authorizes four options, including a pharmacy-prepared kit containing the components for the recipient to prepare an injectable dose of naloxone.
Order sufficient supply of the naloxone product(s) the pharmacy will carry.
Provide notification to customers that the service is or will be available.
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 require one hour of continuing education in opioid antagonist utilization prior to participating in a standing order to dispense naloxone. The continuing education only needs to be completed once, regardless of renewal period.
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 or the statewide protocol. 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 or statewide protocol, do we still have to complete the eligibility assessment provided by the board?
Answer: Yes. The board’s rules require the eligibility assessment form be completed prior to dispensing naloxone under any standing order or statewide protocol for such dispensing.
Question: If my pharmacy dispenses naloxone under a different standing order than the statewide standing order or statewide protocol, 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.