FDA moves quickly to approve Naloxone nasal spray to treat opioid overdose
The Food and Drug Administration today approved Narcan nasal spray, the first FDA-approved nasal spray version
of naloxone hydrochloride, a life-saving medication that can stop or reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.
Opioids are a class of drugs that include prescription medications such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and morphine,
as well as the illegal drug heroin.
Drug overdose deaths, driven largely by prescription drug overdoses, are now the leading cause of injury death in
the United States – surpassing motor vehicle crashes. In 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
reported the number of drug overdose deaths had steadily increased for more than a decade. When someone
overdoses on an opioid, it can be difficult to awaken the person, and breathing may become shallow or stop –
leading to death if there is no medical intervention. If naloxone is administered quickly, it can counter the overdose
effects, usually within two minutes.
Narcan nasal spray does not require assembly and delivers a consistent, measured dose when used as directed.
This prescription product can be used on adults or children and is easily administered by anyone, even those
without medical training. The drug is sprayed into one nostril while the patient is lying on his or her back, and can
be repeated if necessary. However, it is important to note that it is not a substitute for immediate medical care, and
the person administering Narcan nasal spray should seek further immediate medical attention on the patient’s
NCPIE encourages healthcare professionals and community groups to foster patient–professional communication about medicines. However, NCPIE does not supervise or endorse the activities of any group or professional. Discussion and action concerning medicines are solely the responsibility of the patient and their healthcare professionals, and not NCPIE.
Please consult a licensed health care professional with questions or concerns about your medication and/or condition.