What is known about community pharmacy supply of naloxone? A scoping review

Suzanne Nielsen, Marie Claire Van Hout

Research output: Contribution to journalShort SurveyResearchpeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


There is growing evidence that expanded supply of take-home naloxone to prevent opioid overdose deaths is needed. Potential routes for expansion of naloxone provision include through community pharmacies. The aim of this scoping review is to establish what is known about community pharmacy supply of naloxone, in light of unique challenges and opportunities present in pharmacy settings. A scoping review methodology was employed using the six stage iterative process advocated by Arksey and O'Malley (2005) and Levac et al. (2010). Searches used key words and terms such as ‘naloxone’ ‘overdose prevention/drug overdose/opiate overdose’ ‘community/retail pharmacy’ ‘pharmacist/pharmacy/community pharmacy/pharmaceutical services’ ‘professional practice/role’ ‘community care’ attitude of health personnel’ ‘training/supply/cost’. Appropriate search terms were selected for each database. After initial exploratory searches, comprehensive searches were conducted with Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Medline, Medline in Process, Embase, PsycINFO and CINAHL. Eligibility criteria centered on whether studies broadly described supply of naloxone in community pharmacy or had content relating to community pharmacy supply. The search identified 95 articles, of which 16 were related to pharmacy supply of naloxone. Five themes were presented after initial review of the data and consultation with the project Expert Group, and are; ‘Pharmacists Perceptions of Naloxone: Facilitators and Barriers’, ‘Patient Populations: Identification and Recruitment’, ‘Supply Systems and Cost’, ‘Legal Issues’, and ‘Training of Pharmacists and Community Pharmacy Naloxone Recipients’. Findings from this scoping review suggest that community pharmacy based supply of take-home naloxone warrants the community pharmacy based route for distribution of take home naloxone provision warrants further consideration and development. Existing strengths include a range of established supply models, and training curricula, few direct concerns regarding legal liability of pharmacists in the supply of naloxone (once legal supply systems have been established) and the wide range of potential identifiable patient populations, which include pain patients that may not be in contact with existing naloxone supply programmes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-33
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Drug Policy
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Community pharmacy
  • Naloxone
  • Opioid
  • Overdose
  • Pharmacy
  • Supply systems

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