What is an opioid? Opioids are narcotic drugs used to treat pain. Opioids come in short- and long-acting forms.
Read further to learn what you can do to take doctor-ordered pain drugs safely and how to dispose of them when you no longer need them.
Ask your doctor about other choices:
There may be other ways to treat your pain, such as non-narcotic, non-opioid drugs or physical therapy. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you are worried about possible side effects of a drug, including physical dependence and addiction.
Safely store your pain medicine:
How and When to Stop Taking a Drug:
Safely dispose of your leftover drugs:
When you finish taking a drug, if you have any left over, get rid of them safely so they aren’t stolen or misused. Some law enforcement agencies will let you turn in leftover drugs through secure disposal boxes-no questions asked. Find a safe drug drop box near you at www.bcbsla.com/safedrugdrop.
How to get help for opioid dependency
BLUE CROSS’ POLICY ON OPIOIDS:
For an opioid drug to be covered under your plan, you may have a limit on how many days’ supply of certain drugs you can fill at a time, or your doctor may need to ask for prior authorization before you fill an opioid drug. We will make exceptions for members who are already on long‐term pain medicines if they meet certain criteria, and for people taking these drugs because they have cancer or are receiving end‐of‐life care.
Combination pain medicines: Some opioid drugs are combined with an additional pain reliever such as acetaminophen (Tylenol®), ibuprofen or aspirin. Most of these combinations include Tylenol. By limiting the amount Tylenol you take per day, you can reduce your risk of liver damage.
EXAMPLE: There are 3 grams of acetaminophen in 9 tablets per day of hydrocodone/acetaminophen 10/325mg. This means we will cover no more than 9 tablets per day of hydrocodone/acetaminophen 10/325mg.
EXAMPLE: This means we will cover no more than 5 tablets per day of hydrocodone/ibuprofen.
EXAMPLE: There are 4 grams of aspirin in 12 tablets of oxycodone/aspirin 4.8355mg/325mg. This means we will cover no more than 12 tablets of oxycodone/aspirin 4.8355mg/325mg.
Your doctor must get approval before these drugs may be covered:
EXAMPLES: Percocet® and generics, Lortab® and generics, codeine, oxycodone, hydrocodone and others
EXAMPLES: Butrans®, fentanyl patch, OxyContin®, MS Contin®, morphine ER, oxycodone ER and others
Our policy aims to decrease the amount of opioids in the community and the number of patients who become chronic opioid users, while still meeting the needs of our members.