Manitoba paramedics to give olanzapine to meth users

Manitoba becomes the first province in Canada that allows paramedics to give olanzapine to people on methamphetamine with an antipsychotic.

The Government of Manitoba announced Monday a new protocol to allow paramedics to administer the drug to agitated meth users who are at risk of psychosis.

"Paramedics have seen firsthand how a person's behavior can change quickly when they use meth," said Health Minister, Senior and Activing Living Cameron Friesen in a press release.

"By giving paramedics the ability to administer olanzapine, we provide them with another tool to protect their patients, themselves and others."

The drug, which reduces or prevents the symptoms of psychosis, is currently used in a number of clinical settings.

The paramedics of Manitoba must consult a supervisor before they can give the oral disintegrating tablets to consenting patients.

"We are pleased to see that paramedics throughout the county can administer olanzapine in cases of known or suspected methamphetamine use," said Brent Bekiaris, president of the Paramedic Association of Manitoba, in a press release.

"These patients can quickly develop paranoia and show violent behavior, even when assessed, so additional treatment options are needed."

The protocol will take effect in early December.

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