Opioid use disorder (OUD) is a major public health issue in the United States. The preferred treatment approach, which combines the use of approved medications for OUD (MOUD) with counseling and behavioral therapies, represents an evidence-based approach to treat individuals living with an OUD. However, access to MOUD has not kept up with increased demand and new approaches are needed. In Wisconsin, pharmacists are able to provide long-acting injectable naltrexone, an approved and effective MOUD treatment.
Pharmacists, who are more geographically accessible, have a unique perspective on what to expect pharmacologically with an OUD medication, and they can proactively follow up with patients once a medication is provided. As such, pharmacists are well-positioned to manage and monitor medications, which positions them to have an integral and significant role in addressing the opioid epidemic.
An Injectable Naltrexone Best Practices guide was developed by the University of Wisconsin-School of Pharmacy as part of our work with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS). The guide was developed using input from community pharmacists in Wisconsin who are currently providing this service to residents in their communities. The guide represents a compilation of best practices to support the development of a new program and, once established, practices associated with coordination and delivery of naltrexone injections in community pharmacies. The guide also offers ideas to support the expansion of an existing injectable naltrexone program in community pharmacies.
As part of our continued work with the DHS, we have updated and deconstructed the original Injectable Naltrexone Best Practices guide into this website, to serve as an electronic resource for community pharmacies who wish to establish an injectable naltrexone service or who are looking for ways to improve or enhance their existing service.
We wish to extend our sincerest appreciation to the pharmacists who provided their valuable input and feedback. What was evident throughout the process was the dedication and commitment, on the part of pharmacists, to serve as an accessible resource to those in need in their communities.
If you have any questions, we invite you to contact us. We will respond as soon as possible.