What is Naloxone?
- Naloxone is prescription medication that reverses opiate (prescription or heroin) overdoses.
- It was approved by the FDA in 1971 and has been used successfully in emergency rooms and ambulances for decades.
- Also known by brand names "Narcan" or "Evzio"
How does it work?
- Naloxone works within minutes to restore breathing in people overdosing on opiate drugs by blocking opiate receptors and essentially reversing the effects of opioid drugs, such as heroin and prescription medication. Overdose patients usually bounce back quickly once given naloxone.
- However, the effect of an opioid may last longer than the counter effect of naloxone and the person can go back into a state of life-threatening overdose in a short period of time. Therefore, it is absolutely essential that the overdosed patient be quickly taken for emergency medical care. Additional doses of naloxone may be required before arrival to a medical facility.
- Naloxone can be administered either through injection or a nasal spray.
Is it safe?
- Yes, naloxone is a non-narcotic and non-addicting prescription drug. It cannot be used to get high, however, for someone who is under the influence of opioids, it can trigger safe, but sudden and sometimes severe symptoms of withdrawal.