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Naloxone FAQ

How do I get naloxone?

Naloxone prescriptions can be filled at most pharmacies.  Although the medication may not be available for same day pick up, it can often be ordered and available within a day or two.  Visit Overdose Free PA for a database of participating pharmacies.
 
Family members and friends can access this medication by obtaining a prescription from their family doctor or by using the standing order written for the general public (PDF), issued by Rachel Levine, M.D., PA Physician General. (Please note that schools have a separate application process than the general public or EMS/Police agencies. See "For Schools" below for details.)
 
For Schools:  Governor Wolf and the Pennsylvania departments of Health, Education, State, and Drug and Alcohol Programs recently announced a statewide partnership with Adapt Pharma to provide a free, two-dose carton of Narcan Nasal Spray to public high schools across Pennsylvania.  In order for a public high school to participate in this program, they must submit an Application to the Department of Health, Division of School Health.  Steps 1-4 on the application page must be completed in order for a school's Narcan application to be approved.  For complete information please visit DOH's Narcan Grant Application page.
 

What types of naloxone are available?

Two of the most common ways that naloxone is administered are intranasal (nasal spray) and the auto-injector. Please note, not all pharmacies stock both forms and insurance coverage may vary depending on the type of medication being purchased and each individual insurance plan.  Check your insurance prescription formulary or call your benefits manager to determine if the medication is covered by your particular plan or if your purchase of the medication will be an out-of-pocket cost.
 
Intranasal currently has two pieces that are easily assembled: a prefilled medication tube and an atomization device which is sold separately.  The nasal piece may not be stocked at your local pharmacy; however, they may assist in ordering it.  Additionally, the nasal atomization device can be ordered from a number of medical supply companies without a prescription. 
 
The Auto-injector comes in a manufactured dosage form (similar to an epi-pen) and has a recorded message to talk you through giving the medication.
 

How do I administer naloxone?

In addition to talking to your healthcare provider or the pharmacist about how to use naloxone, individuals giving this medication to someone should take the online training ahead of time.  Training is available at one of the Department of Health approved training sites: GetNaloxoneNow or PA Virtual Training Network.  These easy to understand, brief trainings explain how to recognize the signs and symptoms of an opioid overdose, what to do in the event of an overdose, and instruct on how to give naloxone.  While it is not necessary to obtain a training certificate in order to purchase naloxone, learning these important details will help you respond properly in the event of an overdose and also meet the immunity requirements of PA Act 139 (PDF).
 

Could I get in trouble for giving someone naloxone (statutory immunity)?

Good Samaritan:  Through the ‘Good Samaritan’ provision of Act 139, friends, loved ones and bystanders are encouraged to call 911 for emergency medical services in the event an overdose is witnessed and to stay with the individual until help arrives.  The provision offers certain criminal and civil protections to the caller so that they cannot get in trouble for being present, witnessing and reporting an overdose.
 
Administering Naloxone:  Physicians are permitted to write third party prescriptions for naloxone and you are immune from liability for giving naloxone if you believed the person was suffering from an opioid overdose (heroin or prescription pain medication) and you called for medical help/911 after giving the medication.  
 

Does Health insurance cover naloxone?

Insurance companies vary in how they cover naloxone and other drugs used to treat an opioid overdose. Prior to having a naloxone prescription filled with a pharmacy, consumers are encouraged to check with their insurance carriers to find out whether naloxone is a covered benefit under their policy, and, if so, what form of naloxone is covered, and any cost-sharing amounts that may apply under their policy. 
 

Medical Assistance 

Will Fee-for-Service and the managed care organizations (MCOs) pay for naloxone dispensed under the standing order for Medical Assistance recipients?

Yes.
 

Will Medical Assistance require a prescription in order for the pharmacist to fill the naloxone for a Medical Assistance recipient?

Yes.  Per 55 Pa Code, Chapter 1121 – Pharmaceutical Services - §1121.52, pharmacists can treat the standing order as a verbal order for Medical Assistance recipients.
 

Can a person other than the eligible Medical Assistance recipient (friend or family member) obtain the naloxone at the pharmacy on the recipient’s behalf?  Will the Medical Assistance Program make payment?

PA Medical Assistance will make payment for naloxone for the eligible Medical Assistance recipient, even if they are a friend or family member and not the actual opioid user . 
 

Is prior authorization required by Medical Assistance for any of the naloxone products or supplies?

The Evzio Auto-Injector is covered by Medical Assistance, but requires prior authorization.  Generic naloxone is covered without the need for prior authorization. 
 

Where can a pharmacy access Medical Assistance billing procedures for naloxone and the nasal actuator?

The Fee-for-Service Program will post information related to billing for naloxone on the DHS Pharmacy Services website.  Pharmacies will need to contact each MCO individually to obtain information about their billing procedures.
 

Will copays apply for the naloxone products and nasal actuator?

No. The Medical Assistance copay will not apply. 
 

Is there a limit to the number of times that a Medical Assistance recipient can get naloxone?

No. There is no limit to the number of fills that can be obtained.
 

How can someone with an addiction to prescription pain medicines, heroin or other drugs get help?

Treatment for drug abuse and addiction is available!  You can find out more by calling the County Drug and Alcohol Office where you live or call us at 717-783-8200.
 
While it may be uncomfortable to talk to someone about their substance abuse problem, it is more likely for an individual to seek help for their problem within days following an overdose if someone talks to them right after the overdose event about going to treatment.
 

Are there any other standing orders in Pennsylvania?

Yes. There have been three well publicized standing orders that we are aware of to date that impact Pennsylvania which include: 1) CVS who has developed one for their pharmacies nationwide; 2) Montgomery County; and 3) Allegheny County.
 
The Physician General’s standing order (PDF) expands upon them to ensure statewide access.  expands upon them to ensure statewide access. 
 

Are you concerned that the distribution of Naloxone might cause people to engage in increased drug use?

No. There is no evidence that suggests that people are more likely to use opioids or overdose on them because they have access to Naloxone.