MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – The annual number of deaths due to accidental drug overdose has been increasing steadily over the past 15 years and now exceeds the national road toll.1 As this number has been increasing, its demographic has been changing, with most drug related deaths now occurring amongst middle aged Australians.1 Unfortunately, Australia has not escaped the worldwide opioid epidemic, with this category of drugs the cause of most fatal overdoses.1
In response to this evolving issue, in 2016, naloxone hydrochloride was down-scheduled on the Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Medicines and Poisons (SUSMP) from a Schedule 4 (S4) – Prescription Only Medicine to a Schedule 3 (S3) – Pharmacist only Medicine. Naloxone hydrochloride is indicated for the treatment of opioid overdose, therefore this move to facilitate product access has the potential to save many lives.
. The availability of a S3 product will eliminate the current need for pharmacists to over-label the S4 product before dispensing without a prescription. The Junalox pack will also be more consumer friendly, with the addition of an Opioid Overdose Action Plan to the product leaflet. This action plan includes vital information such as:
Juno will continue to supply the S4 product to hospitals, with community pharmacies encouraged to stock the S3 product.
Junalox is indicated for the treatment of opioid overdose. Consumer Medicine Information (CMI) available here. ALWAYS READ THE LABEL. USE ONLY AS DIRECTED. YOUR PHARMACIST’S ADVICE IS REQUIRED. Ingredients: naloxone hydrochloride (as dihydrate), water for injections, hydrochloric acid (for pH adjustment).
Med231. Prepared March 2019.