CVS limits opioid prescriptions to fight epidemic

Sep 23, 2017, 01:25
CVS limits opioid prescriptions to fight epidemic

CVS announced Thursday that their pharmacists will review opioid prescriptions that don't meet new federal guidelines, in addition to new and expanded initiatives the company has undertaken to counter the ongoing opioid epidemic.

Starting February 1, 2018, CVS Caremark will begin limiting the supply of opioids dispensed to opioid-naive patients to a 7-day supply for certain acute prescriptions.

Another component of the new program announced by CVS is an expansion of safe disposal sites at its stores.

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This move by the nation's largest pharmacy chain to limit drugs such as Vicodin and OxyContin puts a significant restriction on patients. "Simply restricting access to opioids without offering alternative pain treatments may have limited efficacy in reducing prescription opioid abuse", said representatives from NIDA.

At the pharmacy level, a greater emphasis will be placed on counseling to help patients understand the risks associated with opioid use based on the new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.

CVS will also be expanding its medication disposal units, adding 750 "drug take-back" kiosks in its pharmacies.

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CVS said this isn't a blame game. More than 100 metric tons of unwanted medication was disposed through the program in the past two years.

"In particular at King's Daughters, we're working on a non-narcotic pain regimen or pain control regimen that we can offer our patients when they are in the hospital that can reduce the amount of medication they can get while they're inpatients and as outpatients".

CVS said it provides medications to almost 90 million people, so the company is hoping to take the lead and influence other providers to follow suit.

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"The opioid epidemic touches all of the communities we serve, and as a pharmacy innovation company, we are in a unique position to make a difference".

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