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Help save lives: Co-prescribe naloxone to patients at risk of opioid overdose



October 15, 2017
Area(s) of Interest: Drug Prescribing/Dispensing 

For more than 40 years, the life-saving opioid overdose antidote naloxone has been used to reverse the effects of opioid overdose. Timely administration of naloxone has saved tens of thousands of lives.

The American Medical Association Opioid Task Force, of which the California Medical Association (CMA) is a member, recently issued updated guidance encouraging physicians to consider co-prescribing naloxone when clinically appropriate for patients who are at risk for opioid overdose or might be in a position to help someone else at risk.

The updated guidance includes several important questions that physicians should consider to help determine whether they should co-prescribe naloxone to a patient—or to a family member or close friend of the patient.


  • Is the patient receiving a high dose of opioids?

  • Does the patient also have a prescription for a benzodiazepine?

  • Does the patient have a history of substance-use disorder?

  • Does the patient have an underlying mental health or other medical condition that makes him or her more susceptible to overdose?


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The document also includes links to multiple resources for physicians to use in their practice, such as recommendations for use in different settings, best practices and product comparisons.

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