Research has suggested that prescribing the opioid antagonist naloxone to patients with opioid prescriptions could reduce the risk of opioid-related adverse events.
To assess the feasibility of co-prescribing naloxone in primary care, researchers undertook a non-randomised study across six clinics in San Francisco, California. They trained staff in naloxone prescribing and encouraged them to offer it to all patients on long-term opioids for pain.
Over two years, 759 (38%) out of 1,985 patients received naloxone. These patients had 47% fewer opioid-related emergency department visits in the six months after prescription and 63% fewer visits at one year compared with patients who were not given naloxone.
Reporting in the Annals of Internal Medicine (online, 28 June 2016)
, the researchers say the results show that naloxone can be successfully co-prescribed in primary care settings and may reduce the risk of opioid-related adverse events.