Mary Bono, MAPDA Chairman and CEO
Naloxone is a medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) designed to rapidly reverse opioid overdose. It is an opioid antagonist—meaning that it binds to opioid receptors and can reverse and block the effects of other opioids, such as such as heroin, morphine, and oxycodone.
Administered when a patient is showing signs of opioid overdose, naloxone is a temporary treatment and its effects do not last long. Therefore, it is critical to obtain medical intervention as soon as possible after administering/receiving naloxone.
The medication can be given by intranasal spray (into the nose), intramuscular (into the muscle), subcutaneous (under the skin), or intravenous injection.
A practitioner should assess the need to prescribe naloxone for patients who are receiving medication-assisted treatment (MAT) or otherwise considered a risk for opioid overdose.
Pregnant women can be safely given naloxone in limited doses under the supervision of a doctor.
A doctor or pharmacist can show patients, their family members, or caregivers how to administer naloxone.
Patients given an automatic injection device or nasal spray should keep the item available at all times. It is important to remember to replace medication when the expiration date passes and if exposed to temperatures below 39F or above 104F.
Naloxone is effective if opioids are misused in combination with other sedatives or stimulants. It is not effective in treating overdoses of benzodiazepines or stimulant overdoses involving cocaine and amphetamines.
Naloxone is available under the statewide standing order through participating pharmacies. It is up to each individual pharmacy to decide whether to dispense naloxone under the statewide standing order or under a separate standing order.
You can contact your local pharmacy to determine whether it is currently dispensing naloxone under a standing order. If you are not able to obtain naloxone through a standing order at a pharmacy, you have other options to obtain naloxone.
You may seek a prescription for naloxone from a health care provider. You may also get naloxone at some local health departments or syringe exchange programs.
Former US Surgeon General Jerome Adams, 2018