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User-Friendly Naloxone Nasal Spray for Opioid Overdose
For years, medical personnel have been relying on one medication to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.
In the United States alone, bystanders have already used naloxone to reverse more than 10,000 opioid overdoses. Traditionally administered via injection, many people avoid naloxone for fear of needles or giving a shot. Recognizing the need for alternate and more user-friendly delivery routes, pharmaceutical giant Reckitt Benckiser is now developing a naloxone nasal spray.
Naloxone is classified as a pure opioid antagonist drug, meaning it does not cause the same “agonistic” or euphoric effects and characteristics seen in other opioid antagonists.Naloxone is classified as a pure opioid antagonist drug, meaning it does not cause the same “agonistic” or euphoric effects and characteristics seen in other opioid antagonists. When patients are given the recommended dosage and refrain from using additional opiates, naloxone exhibits no pharmacologic activity and poses no danger.
The Naloxone Push
Though naloxone has been around for more than 50 years, it has only recently gained popularity among the public. Just a few short years ago, naloxone was only carried by ambulance services and hospitals. With fatal opiate-related overdoses skyrocketing, however, a push for user-friendly naloxone has gained some serious momentum. Obtaining a prescription for naloxone has been likened to learning CPR; preparing for the possibility of an overdose and having the life-saving antidote on hand.
How Does Naloxone Work?
Since brain damage can occur in just a few short minutes during an opiate overdose, immediate treatment is vital. Naloxone essentially buys time for first aid, rescue breathing, or calling 911.When an opiate overdose is suspected, the naloxone nasal spray should be administered as soon as possible. Once in the system, opiates are pushed out of the brain’s opiate receptors. Users insert the system into the nostrils, spraying once on each side. After a single dose, the recipient’s breathing patterns begin to normalize and consciousness reappears. Since brain damage can occur in just a few short minutes during an opiate overdose, immediate treatment is vital. Naloxone essentially buys time for first aid, rescue breathing, or calling 911.
Just as the injectable form, nasal naloxone revives an overdose victim within three to seven minutes. A short-acting medication, naloxone is only active in the body for up to 90 minutes. The nasal formulation is sold as a pre-filled, unit-dose, disposable delivery system. Since the nasal cavity can’t hold a large volume of liquid, developers had to use a higher concentration of naloxone’s active ingredient.
What Benefits Does Nasal Naloxone Offer?
There are plenty of people who shudder at the thought of giving a shot. Drawing up an exact amount of medication and sticking a needle in someone’s side is likely not on the top of a “To-Do” list. Reckitt Benckiser’s nasal naloxone is an alternative for family members and caregivers who could potentially find themselves treating an opiate overdose.
Experts agree the nasal formulation of naloxone will be easier to administer than the injectable form. Since the needle is taken out of the equation, the risk of infection decreases by leaps and bounds. Developers hope to see family members of an addict keep naloxone nasal spray on hand, allowing for immediate overdose intervention before emergency personnel arrive on scene.
Reckitt Benckiser has not given the press an expected date for release.
Naloxone is not a substitute for addiction treatment. If you or someone you know struggles with opioid abuse, look for opioid addiction treatment centers in your area. Call 1-888-332-2565 and speak to a recovery professional now.