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Naloxone continues to require a prescription until further notice

March 23, 2016

As reported in the media this week, Naloxone, when indicated for emergency use for opioid overdose outside of hospital settings, has been removed from the Prescription Drug List (PDL) by Health Canada. However, this does not mean that the drug is automatically available without a prescription.

In Alberta, the Scheduled Drugs Regulation to the Pharmacy and Drug Act dictates which drugs are in which schedule. These regulations state that all drugs set out in Schedule 1 by National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities (NAPRA) Drug Schedules are Schedule 1 drugs unless the drug is listed as an exception in the regulations. Therefore Naloxone will remain on Schedule 1 in Alberta until either the NAPRA drug schedules are changed or the Scheduled Drugs Regulation is amended to list Naloxone as an exception.

We are aware that both NAPRA and Alberta Health are considering schedule changes. We will notify you of any schedule change regarding Naloxone, and the implications for your practice, when they occur. In the meantime, the Take Home Naloxone (THN) Program continues to operate unchanged. For questions about the THN program, please contact RxA or Alberta Health Services. For questions relating to standards of practice, please contact ACP.