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Research Letter
August 6, 2019

Naloxone Co-prescribing to Patients Receiving Prescription Opioids in the Medicare Part D Program, United States, 2016-2017

Author Affiliations
  • 1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia
  • 2National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland
  • 3US Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, DC
JAMA. 2019;322(5):462-464. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.7988

Co-prescription of naloxone to patients receiving long-term opioid therapy provides an opportunity to expand naloxone access to patients at risk for opioid overdose.1 The 2016 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain recommends that clinicians consider co-prescribing naloxone to patients at increased overdose risk, such as those receiving daily opioid dosages of 50 morphine milligram equivalents (MME) or greater or those receiving benzodiazepines.2 In 2017, Vermont mandated naloxone co-prescribing when patients receive opioids at dosages of 90 MME/d or greater or concomitant benzodiazepines,3 and Virginia mandated co-prescribing when patients receive opioids at dosages of 120 MME/d or greater or concomitant benzodiazepines.4 To date, the extent of naloxone co-prescribing is unknown. We used Medicare Part D data to compare national and state rates of naloxone co-prescribing in 2016-2017.