To assist in the national crisis concerning opioid overdoses, Hy-Vee, Inc. and the Illinois Department of Public Health announced today that naloxone is now available without a prescription at Hy-Vee pharmacies in Illinois.
In Illinois, pharmacists can dispense naloxone without a prescription through a physician-signed standing order with a designated pharmacy or pharmacy chain. In a joint effort to help prevent opioid-related deaths, the Illinois Department of Public Health provided the physician-signed standing order to Hy-Vee. Previously, the only way for individuals to obtain naloxone was through their doctor or other prescriber, followed by a trip to the pharmacy for the drug.
Naloxone is available upon request at Hy-Vee pharmacies in nasal spray and injection forms (upon request), although, nasal spray is the most commonly used form. The drug is stored behind the counter and cost varies, depending on the form and whether a customer goes through his or her insurance, or pays cash.
Hy-Vee pharmacists will also ensure that patients and their family members understand how to recognize signs of an opioid overdose and how to administer the medication. While naloxone is not a cure for an opioid overdose, it can assist an individual until emergency treatment is available and long-term treatment is provided.. The medication has no effect if opioids are absent.
Naloxone can be administered to any person who has overdosed on a wide range of opioids, including hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine and codeine, as well as heroin. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, opioids killed more than 42,000 people in 2016, more than any year on record. Nearly half of all opioid overdose deaths involve a prescription opioid.