• Clinical Insights

Frequently asked questions: naloxone (Narcan®)

Mar 29th, 2023

Have questions about naloxone (Narcan®)? You’re not alone.

See below for answers to your common questions surrounding this treatment, which can help reduce or reverse the effects of opioids.

  • What is naloxone (Narcan®)?
    • Naloxone (often referred to by its brand name, Narcan®) is used to reverse or reduce the effects of opioids. Effects begin within minutes of administration, meaning it can be lifesaving for someone experiencing an opioid overdose.
  • How does naloxone work?
    • Naloxone rapidly reverses an opioid overdose. Naloxone is an opioid antagonist that binds to opioid receptors and works to block the effects of opioids, such as heroin, fentanyl, morphine, and oxycodone.
  • How long does naloxone take to work?
    • Naloxone can begin taking effect within two to three minutes of administration. Naloxone is a temporary treatment option, so it is critical that medical intervention is provided as soon as possible after naloxone is administered.
  • Where can I obtain naloxone?
    • The FDA recently approved Narcan® 4 milligram (mg) naloxone hydrochloride nasal spray for over the counter (OTC), nonprescription use, making it the first naloxone product approved for use without a prescription1. The timeline for availability and price of this OTC product is determined by the manufacturer. The FDA will work with all stakeholders to help facilitate the continued availability of naloxone nasal spray products during the time needed to implement the Narcan® switch from prescription to OTC status, which may take months.
    • Other forms and dosage of naloxone will still require a prescription and will need to be filled and dispensed according to pharmacy practice laws. Many states, however, have laws that allow pharmacists to dispense naloxone without a prescription (called standing orders). Since all states and pharmacies have different eligibility requirements, please reach out to your Genoa Healthcare pharmacist for more information on state-specific questions.
  • Is naloxone covered through insurance?
    • Many insurance providers cover naloxone with a prescription from a provider. Contact your insurance provider to determine your eligibility.
  • Do I need official training to administer naloxone?
    • No official training is necessary to administer naloxone, however many organizations offer free “save a life trainings,” like this one provided by the Alliance of Coalitions for Healthy Communities in Michigan. It is important that individuals are trained to spot the signs and symptoms of overdose, so they know when it’s appropriate to administer naloxone.
  • Will naloxone work for patients overdosing on non-opioid substances?
    • Naloxone will only reverse the effects of opioids.
  • Where should naloxone be stored?
    • Naloxone should be stored at room temperature and kept out of direct sunlight. Do not store naloxone in the refrigerator.
  • Can I reuse naloxone nasal spray?
    • Each naloxone nasal spray is a single-use, single-dose only applicator.
  • Is naloxone nasal spray addictive?
    • Naloxone has no potential for overdose, abuse, or addiction.

Interested in learning more?

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