What is naloxone?
Commonly sold under the brand name Narcan, naloxone is a life-saving prescription medication that rapidly reverses an opioid overdose.
Naloxone has no potential for abuse or getting high, has few side effects, is safe for children and pregnant women and won’t affect someone who hasn’t taken opioids.
How does naloxone work?
Naloxone basically works as an opioid antagonist, binding to the brain’s opioid receptors and blocking the drug’s effects. It can very quickly restore normal breathing to someone whose breathing has stopped or slowed due to an overdose.
How is naloxone administered?
There are three Food and Drug Administration-approved ways: injection, auto-injection or nasal spray. All administrations require training, which is good for two years. Typically, paramedics and other first responders use injectable Naloxone, while the public usually receives Narcan nasal spray, which is very easy to use.
What happens to a person who receives naloxone?
Sometimes a person may vomit, feel ill or experience extreme withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms are not generally life-threatening. They also may grow extremely agitated, angry or upset.
On rare occasions, a person may have a seizure, although that is uncommon.
Does naloxone work on other drugs?
Naloxone only reverses the effects of an opioid overdose. It is not effective in treating overdoses of other drugs.
How do I get naloxone?
Maryland has a standing order for naloxone, which means you no longer need a prescription. Anyone get can naloxone at any participating pharmacy.
The Maryland Department of Health offers an online map showing participating pharmacies at maps.health.maryland.gov/bha/naloxone.
How can I get trained on naloxone?
Call the Kent County Health Department Substance Abuse Prevention Office at 410-778-7918 for information.
Administration of Naloxone is not treatment yet provides a good opportunity to suggest detox and getting help.