A significant increase in naloxone dispensing rates was associated with the implementation of an Ohio law allowing pharmacists to dispense naloxone without a prescription in a new study.

Published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the study was conducted using a segmented regression analysis of an interrupted time series over a course of 30 months. The research evaluated the change in naloxone dispensing rates before and after the implementation of the Ohio state law.

Any patient age 18 years or older with at least 1 naloxone order dispensed through Ohio Medicaid or by a Kroger Pharmacy in Ohio was analyzed during the study period of July 16, 2014 to January 15, 2017. The data was examined from April 23, 2018 to July 7, 2019.

The results showed that in the Ohio Medicaid population, the number of naloxone orders dispensed after the policy was implemented increased by 2328%, from 191 in the pre-policy period to 4637 in the post-policy period.

The rate of naloxone orders dispensed per month per county after the policy was implemented increased by 4% in the Ohio Medicaid population, and 3% in the Kroger Pharmacy population compared with the pre-policy period. After the policy was implemented, the rate of naloxone orders dispensed increased by 18% per month in low-employment counties compared with high-employment counties in the Ohio Medicaid population.

The researchers concluded that the implementation of a state law allowing pharmacists to dispense naloxone without a prescription in accordance with a physician-approved protocol was associated with an increase in the number of naloxone orders dispensed in the Ohio Medicaid and Kroger Pharmacy populations.

Moreover, a significant increase was observed in the naloxone dispensing rate among the Ohio Medicaid population in counties with low employment and high poverty.


REFERENCE

Gangal NS, Hincapie AL, Jandarov R, et al. Association Between a State Law Allowing Pharmacists to Dispense Naloxone Without a Prescription and Naloxone Dispensing Rates. JAMA Netw Open. 2020;3(1):e1920310. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.20310.