Also known as NARCAN®, naloxone is a potentially lifesaving drug that can reverse an opioid overdose. It can be administered as an injection or nasal spray. When administered during an opioid overdose, naloxone disables an opioid’s harmful effects to the brain, temporarily reversing an opioid overdose.
Taking too many opioids slows down breathing until it stops entirely. Naloxone works by quickly attaching to the same parts of the brain where opioids attach. This immediately replaces the opioid and helps the affected person start breathing again and regain consciousness.
Naloxone is a potentially life-saving drug used to reverse opioid overdoses. If you suspect someone is experiencing an overdose, knowing how to administer naloxone can help change the outcome.
Anyone can administer naloxone. This video will walk you through the steps.
A: Naloxone is a medication used to reverse the effects of opioid overdose by blocking the action of opioids in the body.
A: Naloxone works by binding to opioid receptors in the brain and displacing any opioids present. It rapidly blocks the action of opioids and reverses the effects, restoring normal respiration.
A: Naloxone is primarily used to treat opioid overdoses, including those caused by prescription opioids, heroin, and synthetic opioids like fentanyl. It is commonly used in emergency situations where opioid overdose is suspected.
A: Naloxone can be administered through injection, nasal spray, and auto-injector. Although injection is the most common and effective method, nasal spray or auto-injector formulations allow easy and quick administration by non-medical personnel.
A: Naloxone generally has few side effects, but they can include withdrawal symptoms in individuals who are physically dependent on opioids. These symptoms may include sweating, agitation, nausea, vomiting, rapid heartbeat, and increased blood pressure. Still, the benefits of naloxone far outweigh any potential side effects.
A: Naloxone is relatively safe, and it does not produce any significant effects in individuals who do not have opioids in their system. If naloxone is administered to someone who has not taken opioids, it is unlikely to cause any harm.
A: In Minnesota, naloxone is available without a prescription. It is often distributed through community-based programs, pharmacies, and harm reduction initiatives to make it more accessible for individuals at risk of opioid overdose or those who may witness an overdose. The naloxone finder can help you find naloxone in a place that’s closest to you
A: The effects of naloxone typically last between 30 to 90 minutes. However, the duration can vary depending on the dose administered, the individual's metabolism, and the type of opioid involved. It is important to seek medical help even after naloxone administration to ensure the person's safety.
A: Yes. Even though naloxone can be very effective, it is not a substitute for seeking medical emergency care. It is an important first aid response to an opioid overdose, but it does not replace the need for professional medical attention. Always call 911 immediately when administering naloxone. It’s worth remembering that individuals revived by naloxone are not always happy about it. But even if they’re upset that you intervened, you’ve done the right thing.