Overdose-Reversing Nasal Spray in Pharmacies Now

Roni Shye
Roni Shye, PharmD BCGP BCACP, is a licensed pharmacist in the states of Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
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Drug overdoses have been the main cause of injury death in the United States since 2008, according to the DEA. Car crashes used to be first in line, but deaths from drug overdose have now far surpassed those from motor vehicle accidents and firearms.

How bad is the problem? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that approximately 1 person in the United States dies every 21 minutes from an opioid overdose.

Many Americans take opioid pain medications as prescribed by their doctors, for serious conditions—but that doesn’t always mean you are at a lower risk for overdose. However, there are precautions you can take if you’ve been prescribed a higher-dose opioid for chronic pain.

The naloxone (generic Narcan) injection has recently been in the news, as many states no longer require a prescription for this life-saving medication. For more information on injectable naloxone, see our previous post here.

Now, Narcan is available in a new, easier-to-use nasal spray form, that may help save even more lives.

What is Narcan nasal spray used for?
Narcan (naloxone) nasal spray is used to reverse the effects of opioid overdose from medications like morphine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, and the illegal drug heroin.

Is there anything unique about Narcan nasal spray?

Yes. Narcan nasal spray is the first FDA approved nasal spray version of naloxone. Naloxone has been available for some time now, but only as an injection solution.

How is Narcan nasal spray to be used?
Narcan nasal spray can be given by family members, caregivers, or other bystanders in an emergency drug-overdose situation. Each dose is given as a single 0.1 mL nasal spray into one nostril.

Additional doses of Narcan nasal spray may be necessary while waiting for emergency help to arrive.

Please keep this in mind! Even if the dose Narcan nasal spray appears to help, family members or caregivers should still seek medical attention. A drug overdose (even suspected or potential) is a life-threatening situation and a serious emergency.

How will Narcan nasal spray be available?
Narcan nasal spray will be dispensed from your pharmacy in a carton containing 2 blister packages. Each will have a single 0.1 mL dose containing 4 mg of medication.

When was Narcan nasal spray approved?
Narcan nasal spray was approved by the FDA on November 18, 2015.

When will Narcan nasal spray be available?
Narcan nasal spray is available in pharmacies now.

Want more information?

See the press announcement from the FDA regarding Narcan nasal spray here.

Drugs featured in this story

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