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What is Edaravone?
Edaravone is an approved drug in the US, Japan and Korea. It has been prescribed for clients with ALS to slow symptom progression.
Given there is only one ALS drug approved in Canada (Rilutek), clients have been obtaining Edaravone from these other countries to treat their ALS symptoms.
Clients are legally importing Edaravone, under the Food and Drugs Act. By law, drugs not listed on Health Canada’s Prescription Drug List or the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act can be imported into Canada for personal use.
In addition, federal law does not prohibit the administration of such drugs.
Can nurses administer Edaravone?
Yes, RNs and RPNs can administer Edaravone provided there is an order in place from an NP or physician, to administer it intravenously (IV).
NPs can administer Edaravone if:
- it is for therapeutic purposes, and
- the NP has a professional relationship with the client.
As with any procedure or activity nurses perform, nurses must comply with the standards of practice. For example, the Medication practice standard requires that the order be clear, complete and appropriate. If a nurse receives an order where any of these are in question, the nurse must not perform the medication practice and should follow up with the NP or physician who wrote the order. Further, the Decisions About Procedures and Authority practice standard states that nurses must have the competence to perform the procedure (e.g., the ability to administer a medication by IV) and be able to manage potential outcomes.
Can an NP order the administration of Edaravone?
Yes. An NP can order the administration of a substance by IV – in this case, Edaravone. This order is not the same as prescribing a drug (the order is only to administer Edaravone, a drug the client already possesses). NPs must comply with the standards of practice including the Nurse Practitioner practice standard. For example, one of the standards states that an NP “selects the appropriate treatments or interventions in collaboration with the client.”