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CVS pharmacy to limit opioids, provide counseling

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CVS Caremark is rolling out an opioid-utilization management program for all its commercial pharmacies, which means starting Feb. 1, 2018, the pharmacy will limit to seven days the supply of opioids dispensed for most patients who are new to the drug, according to an announcement made Thursday.

Woonsocket, Rhode Island-based CVS will also limit the daily dosage of opioids dispensed based on the strength of the opioid and will require the use of immediate-release formulations of opioids before extended-release opioids are dispensed.

CVS Pharmacy locations will also provide counseling for patients filling an opioid prescription with “a robust safe opioid use education program highlighting opioid safety and the dangers of addiction,” according to the press release.  

“This clinical program will educate patients about the Guideline for opioid prescribing published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which advises using the lowest effective dose for the shortest duration possible. Pharmacists will counsel patients about the risk of dependence and addiction tied to duration of opioid use, the importance of keeping medications secure in the home and methods of proper disposal of unused medication,” the release stated.