DHHS orders NH pharmacies to dispense new opioid reversal medication

By HADLEY BARNDOLLAR

New Hampshire Bulletin

Published: 01-26-2024 3:14 AM

The state’s Department of Health and Human Services has issued a standing order to all pharmacies in the state to dispense nalmefene, a new overdose reversal medication.

Nalmefene can be used like naloxone, or Narcan, to reverse overdoses as they are happening. In May, the Food and Drug Administration approved the first prescription nalmefene hydrochloride nasal spray for use on people 12 and older. 

According to DHHS, individuals looking to have nalmefene on hand can obtain it at their local pharmacy by prescription, and it is available at no cost to New Hampshire Medicaid beneficiaries. The medication, the agency noted, is well-suited for reversing highly potent opioids such as fentanyl. 

“Nalmefene is emerging as one more tool at our disposal as we work to prevent opioid overdose deaths,” said DHHS Chief Medical Officer Jonathan Ballard. “As we broaden the availability of nalmefene and other opioid antagonist agents such as naloxone, people will have increased access to life-saving measures during an emergency.”

Making nalmefene available is the latest effort by the state to increase public access to opioid reversal medications and, in turn, prevent overdose deaths. In 2023, New Hampshire became the first state in the country to launch statewide placement of Naloxboxes, and DHHS also has a standing order for pharmacies to dispense both nasal and intramuscular naloxone.

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