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CVS to limit Opioid Prescriptions to one week

Posted by on Sep. 23, 2017 at 1:09 PM
  • 137 Replies
3 moms liked this

CVS Pharmacy will limit opioid prescriptions to a seven-day supply for certain conditions, becoming the first national retail chain to restrict how many pain pills doctors can give patients.

When filling prescription for opioid pills, pharmacists will also be required to talk to patients about the risks of addiction, secure storage of medications in the home and proper disposal, the retail pharmacy chain said Thursday.

The move by CVS to limit prescription opioids like OxyContin or Vicodin to a seven-day supply is a significant restriction for patients — the average pill supply given by doctors in the U.S. increased from 13 days in 2006 to 18 days 2015, according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

'We are further strengthening our commitment to help providers and patients balance the need for these powerful medications with the risk of abuse and misuse,” Larry J. Merlo, President and CEO, CVS Health said in a statement.

CVS, which manages medications for nearly 90 million customers at 9,700 retail locations, plans to roll out the initiatives to control opioid abuse as of February 1, 2018.

Related: One in Three Americans Took Prescription Opioid Painkillers in 2015, Survey Says

Daily dosage limits will be based on the strength of the opioid and CVS pharmacists will require the use of immediate-release formulations of opioids before extended-release opioids are dispensed, lowering the risk of tolerance to the highly addictive drugs.

Related: Opioid Prescriptions Are Down But Not Enough, CDC Finds

CVS — which was the first large retail pharmacy chain to stop selling cigarettes in 2014 — is now hoping to help curb the opioid epidemic in the United States. One in three Americans, or 91.8 million Americans used opioid pills in 2015,according to a recent survey by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. More than 15,000 people died from prescription opioid overdose in 2015, according to the CDC.

With counseling on secure storage and disposal of opioid pills, the CVS pharmacists may be able to limit easy access to the pills. 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. The CVS drug disposal collection program will expand to 1,550 units, with the addition of kiosks at 750 retail pharmacies nationwide, adding to 800 units previously donated to law enforcement.

In addition, CVS has pledged to increase its commitment to community health centers by bolstering contributions to medication-assisted treatment programs by $2 million.

The CVS announcement comes on the heels of a special publication released by the National Academy of Medicine, "First, Do No Harm," which calls on the leadership and action of doctors to help reverse the “course of preventable harm and suffering from prescription opioids.”

“Simply restricting access to opioids without offering alternative pain treatments may have limited efficacy in reducing prescription opioid abuse,” said representatives from NIDA. But the move is a major part of the multi-dimensional solution needed to conquer opioid abuse and a long awaited step in the right direction. 

This article is the first I've read that mentions "for certain conditions" when talking about limiting the drugs.  

Do pharmacies have the right to act as doctors? Do they know their customers better than doctors know their patients? 



by on Sep. 23, 2017 at 1:09 PM
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GrettieMeh
by Silver Member on Sep. 23, 2017 at 1:14 PM
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SMH  I really feel for those that NEED these meds to function and do not and have no desire to abuse the meds.  Depending on the state you live in, some already have "hoops" in place one has to jump through everytime they get a prescription for an opioid.  

MythrylHavoc
by Bronze Member on Sep. 23, 2017 at 1:19 PM
6 moms liked this
I'm one of those you mentioned. I take less than prescribed as much as I can. I have 2 pharmacies that know me and my issues and never hassle me. If they don't have my meds and I try to go elsewhere, I'm usually given a hard time or refused. It sucks that drs have been mismanaging these meds and people have abused them. It punishes those with a true need to pain relief.

Quoting GrettieMeh:

SMH  I really feel for those that NEED these meds to function and do not and have no desire to abuse the meds.  Depending on the state you live in, some already have "hoops" in place one has to jump through everytime they get a prescription for an opioid.  

MsRkg
by Member on Sep. 23, 2017 at 3:37 PM
8 moms liked this
I don't agree with this. It's not the pharmacist job to control the flow of medication , even if it is an opioid. Pharmacist do not have access to patient files, and therefore should have no bearing on how a doctor dispenses medicine; that should be left directly to the person managing the patient. This is a slippery slope to start going down, and I predict some challenges against this in the near future , especially when enough people have to go through more hoops to get their doctor prescribed mediciation.
EireLass
by Ruby Member on Sep. 23, 2017 at 4:34 PM
1 mom liked this

And then they'll just have doctors like mine (I have a chronic pain condition) who would write the 7 day prescription to read 5 pills per day. There's your months's supply!

jjchick75
by Silver Member on Sep. 23, 2017 at 4:59 PM
4 moms liked this

People will just stop going to CVS to get their pain medicine.

I have Crohn's and RA. So needless to say I take pain medicine pretty regularly. I try to avoid taking it if I can. But I have a farm and 7 kids and I need to be able to function and sometimes the only way I can is pain medicine. I use a local pharmacist who I've known since I was a teenager and he knows my history and has never given me any issues.

I think this is terrible for those who have a real need for pain medicine and will do nothing to stop those who just want it, to abuse it.

Curlymom234
by on Sep. 23, 2017 at 5:03 PM
3 moms liked this
That’s really smart. This article made my blood boil. My mom has an extremely painful autoimmune disease and she doesn’t abuse the pills.

Quoting EireLass:

And then they'll just have doctors like mine (I have a chronic pain condition) who would write the 7 day prescription to read 5 pills per day. There's your months's supply!

cjsbmom
by Lois Lane on Sep. 23, 2017 at 5:16 PM
1 mom liked this

Yes. It's a total overreaction. There are some people who need pain management, and that should be between them and their doctor. 

Now, doctors who prescribe 30 days of Vicodin for something like a tooth being pulled, or a musle pull? Those are the doctors who need to be questioned. Opioids should be reserved for the serious conditions and surgeries where there is prolonged pain associated with recovery. 

Quoting GrettieMeh:

SMH  I really feel for those that NEED these meds to function and do not and have no desire to abuse the meds.  Depending on the state you live in, some already have "hoops" in place one has to jump through everytime they get a prescription for an opioid.  


KittyMom1026
by Silver Member on Sep. 23, 2017 at 5:40 PM
1 mom liked this

I'm one of the "lucky" ones who are allergic to all opiods....all. I am also allegic to many muscle relaxers too. I don't know what I'll do if something happens and I'm in severe pain. 

I have a feeling that CVS will be losing sosme customers over this. 

Btamilee2753
by Lee on Sep. 23, 2017 at 5:44 PM
2 moms liked this

Mixed feelings with this one.  I know of several people who have OD on opiods because they were over prescribed by their doctors.  I also know those who do not abuse their pain medication.  

AutymsMommy
by Silver Member on Sep. 23, 2017 at 5:49 PM
2 moms liked this

First, I do not take opiods currently, nor have I long-term.

Second, I have close family members with life-long chronic conditions -- some that will only deterioriate and become even worse over time -- who absolutely need pain management, even if that means they are techinically addicted, far more than they need to managed by some random pharmacist who isn't their doctor. Pain, unmanaged, can cause people to decide life isn't worth living, which is obviously more life-limiting than needing opiods (when they are mangaged by a physician).

Pharmacists have no right, in my opinion, to override doctors.

Even short-term, this is ridiculous. I've had three c-sections and a complete hysterectomy. With my sections, I absolutely needed the opiods perscribed (alongside ibuprofen) for about two weeks. With the hysterectomy I had some relatively minor complications and needed them for about 8 weeks. This was managed seriously by my physician.

The pharmacists making these decisions haven't examined or seen the patients they are determining do not need these medications. It rubs me the wrong way, in a big way.


I am a Home Schooling, Vaccinating, Non spanking, Nightmare Cuddling, Dessert Giving, Bedtime Kissing, Book Reading, Stay at Home Mom. I believe in the benefit of organized after school activities and nosy, involved parents. I believe in spoiling my children. I believe that I have seen the village and I do not want it anywhere near my children. Now for the controversial stuff:  we're Catholic, we're conservative, and we own guns (now there's no need to ask, lol).             Aimee

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