CVS to limit painkiller prescriptions to a 7-day supply

CVS to follow federal guidelines for opioid prescriptions

The pharmaceutical company announced Friday it will begin limiting opioid prescriptions to a seven day supply for certain conditions, which is among several initiatives CVS is taking.

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

"'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.

Daily dosage limits will be based on the strength of the painkiller 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.

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CVS said this isn't a blame game.

"In particular at King's Daughters, we're working on a non-narcotic pain regimen or pain control regimen that we can offer our patients when they are in the hospital that can reduce the amount of medication they can get while they're inpatients and as outpatients". The plan also includes an expansion of the drug disposal collection program which will add more kiosks at retail pharmacies nationwide. It means that customers experiencing acute, short-term pain will only be allowed to purchase one week's worth of opioids with a single prescription, Today reports. "Community health centers have the unique ability to leverage their care teams, health information technology systems and quality infrastructure to support drug abuse control in their communities". The program connects CVS Pharmacists with schools in their communities to provide a unique perspective to students about the dangers of prescription drug abuse.

CVS Health is doing its part to help fight the national opioid epidemic, which accounted for more than 50,000 deaths past year alone.

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