Vermont proposes opioid prescription limits: 7 things to know

Vermont is proposing limits on painkiller prescriptions as the state works to fight the opiate and heroin addiction crisis.

Here are seven things to know about the state's proposal.

1. The proposal, announced this week by Gov. Peter Shumlin (D) and the state's health commissioner, Harry Chen, MD, would amend the health department's rule governing painkiller prescriptions.

2. The proposal uses severity and expected duration of pain to determine limits painkiller prescriptions, according to a news release.

3. A provider treating a patient after a minor procedure that results in moderate pain would be limited to prescribing between nine and 12 opioid painkiller pills (depending on the type of medication).

4. Limits on painkiller prescriptions are higher for more complicated procedures, but no more than a seven-day supply limit would apply to all opioid prescriptions, according to a news release.

5. The proposal does include some exemptions, for treating severe pain due to multi-system trauma or major procedures, such as back surgery.

6. In addition to the limits on the number of painkiller prescriptions, the proposal also requires providers to discuss risks, provide a patient education sheet and receive an informed consent for all first opioid prescriptions, according to a news release. It requires a co-prescription of the overdose reversal treatment naloxone for all prescriptions over a specific strength, as well as opioids co-prescribed with benzodiazepines.

7. State officials expect the amended rule to be finalized in December.

 

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