Tuesday, November 22, 2022

FDA says Naloxone (Narcan) is Likely Safe for OTC Availability

 For those of you who are not healthcare providers, you may not be familiar with the drug Naloxone (also known as Narcan).  The medication is an incredibly fast acting reversal agent for narcotics.  Basically if a person is suffering from an overdose, administering Narcan can completely reverse the overdose situation and bring a patient back from a potentially fatal situation.  

The drug was developed in the early part of the 1960s by Jack Fishman who was a researcher at Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research.  However, he developed Naloxone while working part time at Endo Laboratories Narcotics Division.  When initially synthesized,  no one saw much use for the drug.   

Fast forward to today and Naloxone has become a major life saver.  It is carried by most police officers who answer emergency calls as well as EMTs.  It works *amazingly fast* and can, in some instances, mean the difference between life and death for an individual.

In my office we have 2 nasal spray units in our emergency medical kit.  These are small unidose dispensers that allow us to insert it into the nasal opening of a patient and then shoot a fine spray of the drug into the nasal passages where it is rapidly absorbed through the sinus lining and quickly delivered into the bloodstream.  These are the same dispensing units that are frequently carried by the first responders.

The FDA is giving consideration to the 4mg nasal spray units as well as the 2 milligram dose that can be given through an auto injector, which is similar to the "epi-pen" many people are familiar with.  Naloxone has a high degree of safety and would be easy to use in these delivery options.

If approved, this decision would have a tremendous opportunity to save lives.

You can read the FDA information on this subject by following this link.  

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