Naloxone is a potential life-saver medication used to prevent the overdose of opioids such as heroin, morphine, oxycodone, hydromorphone, methadone, and fentanyl which are capable to cause serious effects.
Opioids are called agonists that affix to and trigger the opioid receptors on nerve cells in the brain, spinal cord, and other body parts. In such situations, people might experience the effects stimulated by opioids such as pain relief, euphoria, calmness, relaxation, and slow breathing. Albeit a painkiller is highly addictive, especially in terms of consumption for long periods.
Side Effects of Opioids
Opioids can cause life-threatening side effects that include:
- shallow breathing
- slowed heart rate
- loss of Consciousness
What is Narcan?
Narcan is the brand name of the drug Naloxone, used to reverse or reduce the effects of opioids. It is a pre-filled nasal spray for emergency treatment for opioid overdose which gives instant relief
How Does Naloxone Work?
Naloxone acts as an “Antagonist”. It rushes straight to the brain where the opioids are bound and works by blocking the connection altogether by eliminating the opioids from the receptor.
The effects of Naloxone hydrochloride are rapid as it starts working within a fraction of a second. Naloxone blocks the opioid receptors and lasts from 30 to 90 minutes.
A single dose of Naloxone could be enough to reverse an overdose. Multiple doses are needed in case of extremely potent opioids.
Who Should Keep It at Hand?
- people who take high dosages of opioids.
- someone being treated for overdosage of opioids/opioid disorder.
- people who intake any combinations of opioids with other medications.
FDA-Approved Forms of Naxolone
Naxolone hydrochloride is available in two forms: Injection and Nasal spray
Injection- professional training required
Auto-Injectable – an auto-injection device that is convenient in emergency cases. It could be injected by family members or emergency personnel.
Nasal spray – Narcan nasal spray, a pre-filled needle-free device could be sprayed into one nostril while the patient lies on the back. It requires no assembly, as it is designed to access in emergency cases.
What Is the Average Dose of Narcan?
Naloxone comes in different brands with different dosages. Its potentiality may vary so the same product wouldn’t be effective for all.
Since Narcan is a nasal spray, the average dose is meant to be one spray in a nostril. Each bottle of Narcan contains one dosage (one spray) of Naloxone. If the person doesn’t respond within 2 to 3 minutes of the first dose, spray the second dosage without further delay. Continue the process for 2 to 3 minutes until the person responds.
Consult with your doctor in case you would like to know which Narcan product would be the best for you.
How to Use Narcan?
Once the symptoms of the opioid are identified, follow the steps below to use naloxone
- If the person doesn’t respond to your voice or touch, lay them on their back before giving Narcan.
- Now grip on the spray with the thumb on the bottom of the plunger while holding the first and middle fingers on either side of Narcan.
- Bend the person’s head back, provide support under the neck, and mildly insert the nozzle into one nostril.
- Press the plunger thoroughly to pump the Narcan nasal spray.
After Narcan is given move the person to their side and call for emergency medical help right away.
What Are the Side Effects of Narcan?
Some of the common side effects of Narcan include:
- High blood pressure
Narcan can cause some opioid withdrawal symptoms. It can be uncomfortable but not life-threatening. The symptoms include:
- Running nose
- Abdominal pain
Is It Safe to Use?
Since it is an FDA-approved medication it is absolutely safe to use. Remember that Naloxone is opioid specific medication, so there is no cause for concern.