Naloxone / Overdose
The recent increase in opiate use has unfortunately resulted in a higher number of overdose victims. There is a medication available called naloxone that can be used if someone is experiencing an overdose. The availability of this medication is essential knowledge for the loved ones of an individual who is using opioids.
According to drugabuse.gov, naloxone is a medication designed to rapidly reverse opioid overdose. It is an opioid antagonist – meaning that it binds to opioid receptors and can reverse and block the effects of other opioids. It can very quickly restore normal respiration to a person whose breathing has slowed or stopped as a result of overdosing with heroin or prescription opioid pain medications.
There are three FDA-approved formulations of naloxone: injectable (professional training required), autoinjectable, and prepackaged nasal spray. Autoinjectable is a prefilled auto-injection device that makes it easy for families or emergency personnel to inject naloxone quickly into the outer thigh. Once activated, the device provides verbal instruction to the user describing how to deliver the medication, similar to automated defibrillators. Nasal spray is a prefilled, needle-free device that requires no assembly and is sprayed into one nostril while patients lay on their back.
In 2016, Gov. Rick Scott of Florida signed into law a measure that allows pharmacists to dispense naloxone without a physician’s prescription. Contact your local pharmacy for more information regarding naloxone availability.