Primary care naloxone and opioid co-prescribing reduces emergency visits

Study shows that co-prescribing naloxone in primary care to patients taking opioids for pain reduces emergency department visits by 47% within six months.

Molecular structure of naloxone

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)[1]
, 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.


[1] Coffin PO, Behar E, Rowe C et al. Non-randomized intervention study of naloxone co-prescription for primary care patients receiving long-term opioid therapy for pain. Annals of Internal Medicine 2016. doi: 10.7326/M15-2771


Last updated
Clinical Pharmacist, CP, July 2016, Vol 8, No 7;8(7):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2016.20201370

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