CVS to limit opioid prescriptions to 7 days

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That difference will include mandating that a single patient cannot be prescribed more than a seven-day supply of opioid medications at any one time, limiting the daily dosage a patient can be prescribed and requiring pharmacists to prioritize immediate-release formulas over extended-release counterparts.

In addition, pharmacists filling the prescriptions will likewise be required to talk to patients about the responsible use of opioids, precautions in storing them at home, proper disposal and addiction risks, CVS stated.

The pharmacy will also expand a drug disposal collection program and increase funding by $2 million to medication-assisted addiction treatment programs.

As one of the nation's largest drugstores, CVS counts almost 10,000 pharmacies across the US and says it fills more than 90 million customer prescriptions.

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Beginning Feb. 1, CVS will roll out new controls to reduce opioid abuse, including counseling at the pick-up counter.

In the last 16 years, more than 183,000 Americans have died from overdoses related to prescription opioids. First, patients new to opioids will only get seven days' worth of medication. They must determine if the prescribed opioid is appropriate, compare how the opioid may interact with other medications the patient is now taking, and occasionally advise the patient on taking a different medication. Five percent of adults surveyed told the National Institute on Drug Abuse researchers they took opioids without their doctor's permission - often getting the prescription meds for free from friends or relatives.

Drugstore giant, CVS Pharmacies is stepping in to help, changing procedure, to curb addiction. "We strongly support their work to limit the quantity of opioids dispensed to patients, consistent with the Guideline set by the CDC, and their work to educate patients, teens and parents about the dangers of opioid misuse".

CVS manages medications for almost 90M people, or ~28% of the USA population, through its Caremark unit and runs 9,700 retail pharmacies nationwide.

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