Naloxone is an FDA-approved medication that stops an opioid overdose. Emergency room doctors, paramedics, police, and firefighters use it to keep people from dying, and so can you. In just a few simple steps, you can save a life.
So learn what naloxone is, how to bring naloxone home, and how to use it.
People have said naloxone’s effect is like watching someone come back from the dead. One study found that 93.5% of people who had been given naloxone survived. The recipient can go from a deep sleep to being wide awake. Their slow, shallow, or labored breath stops, and they’re able to take deep breaths and fill their lungs with air.
Naloxone can reverse an overdose in just a few seconds, or sometimes it could take a couple of minutes. You should call 911 immediately before or after the first dose – the operator will help you and send emergency responders to help rescue the overdose victim.
One dose might not be enough – the package of Narcan nasal spray comes with a second dose you can administer.
Naloxone buys you time – it lasts about 30 to 90 minutes and can wear off. Someone could have taken so many opioids that they go back into overdose. That’s another reason why if you see someone overdosing, you need to call 911 to get immediate medical help.
You can buy naloxone as a nasal spray (sold as Narcan), an auto-injector (sold as Evzio), or in an injectable form. In 2019, companies will begin making a generic form of the nasal spray. You can see what those products look like and go to their product pages by following the links below.
Naloxone is an opioid antagonist, which means it stops the body from responding to opioids and temporarily reverses their effect. Naloxone knocks opioids off certain brain receptors and doesn’t allow them to reconnect. The body reacts by going into withdrawal.
The most important things to know, though, are that:
Naloxone is a one of a kind medication that individuals of any age can use to save a life.
Naloxone is available as a nasal spray sold as Narcan and soon will be generic. If you can use an allergy or saline spray, you can use naloxone.
One form of naloxone sold as Evzio comes in a computerized hand-held auto-injector that will explain to you how to inject it into someone.
Naloxone can be bought in kits with vials and syringes. First responders often use these, although consumers might want to consider easier-to-operate options.