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Standard Naloxone Prescribing for Palliative Care Cancer Patients on Opioid Therapy: A Single-Site Quality Improvement Pilot to Assess Attitudes and Access

      Abstract

      Background

      Limited data exist on when to offer naloxone to cancer patients on opioid therapy.

      Measures

      We assessed patient and clinician attitudes on naloxone education (done via surveys at initial and follow up visits) and prescribing rates (via chart reviews) at a single ambulatory palliative care practice. Pharmacy records assessed naloxone dispense rates.

      Intervention

      During a three-month period, all new patients receiving opioid therapy were offered naloxone. Standardized educational materials on opioid safety and naloxone use were created and shared by clinical team.

      Outcomes

      Naloxone prescribing rates increased from 5% to 66%. 92% (n = 23) of clinicians reported education/prescribing took ≤ five minutes, and 100% reported either a positive or neutral impact on the encounter. A total of 81% (n = 25) of patients reported no increased worry about opioid use, 68% (n = 21) felt safer with naloxone, and 97% rated the encounter as neutral or positive. 88% (n = 37) of prescriptions were dispensed and 67% of patients (n = 16) paid <$10.

      Conclusions/Lessons Learned

      Opioid safety education and naloxone prescribing can be done quickly and is well-received by clinicians and patients.

      Key Words

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