November 02, 2017

Narcan: A Solution for Now?

Cost Containment
, Pharmacy
, Network Solutions

Narcan, also known by its scientific name of Naloxone, will be carried at all of Walgreens’ more than 8,000 pharmacies, according to a recent NPR article. The drug's availability nationwide is the most recent move in response to the opioid crisis, which President Trump declared a national public health emergency last week.

Narcan, from Adapt Pharma, is a fast-acting overdose antidote. It is administered in the form of a nasal spray to drug users that are experiencing an overdose, enabling patients to recover from overdoses on heroin, synthetic opioids like fentanyl, or prescription drugs like oxycodone and hydrocodone.

People can get the medicine without an individual prescription in 45 states. Walgreens also says it will inform customers about Narcan if they are prescribed drugs with more than 50 morphine milligram equivalents, according to NPR.

"By stocking Narcan in all our pharmacies, we are making it easier for families and caregivers to help their loved ones by having it on hand in case it is needed," said Walgreens vice president Rick Gates, in the NPR article.

Other pharmacy chains have made similar changes to widen access, including CVS, which offers prescription-free naloxone in 43 states.

Narcan costs $125 on average, while Evzio, a naloxone auto-injector by Kaleo Pharma, costs thousands of dollars after a recent price increase attributed to the increased demand.

While Narcan may provide a short-term solution for right now, a change in pain management philosophies is crucial to see long-term change and, hopefully, steps toward the end of the opioid crisis.

CorVel offers a holistic pain management program in an effort to help patients resolve pain without reliance on prescription medication as well as to help wean patients off opioids. To learn more about CorVel’s pain management program, contact your CorVel representative.