Does Naloxone for Opioid Overdose Reversal Really Work?

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Does Naloxone for Opioid Overdose Reversal Really Work?

The debate goes on about whether or not naloxone for opioid overdose reversal should be administered in such cases. Many individuals think that by administering this product, it is only prolonging the inevitable. However, medical professionals state that in many cases it saves lives and the overdose victim goes on to recover from their problems with opioids.

What is Naloxone?

Naloxone is an opioid antagonist. It reverses an opioid overdose by attaching to opioid receptors and blocking the effects of other opioids. If a person stops breathing or if their breathing is very slow because of an opioid overdose, naloxone can restore breathing. However, naloxone cannot reverse an overdose if the drug of use is something other than opioids. For instance, if a person overdoses on benzodiazepines, alcohol, or cocaine, this drug cannot reverse the effects.

There are three FDA-approved forms of naloxone. They are pre-packaged nasal spray, injectable, and auto-injectable. In addition, there are some non-FDA-approved forms of this drug. However, the FDA-approved forms are highly suggested. Any person who is going to administer this drug needs to receive training on doing so.

The nasal spray and auto-injectable forms of naloxone are developed to be easy for non-medical professionals to use in emergencies. The injectable form is for medical professionals to use on overdose victims. The nasal spray (Narcan) is the easiest form for family members to use. You spray it into one nostril of the victim as they lay on their back. This drug is FDA-approved, prefilled, and requires no assembly.

Knowing the Signs of an Opioid Overdose

Knowing when to use naloxone for opioid overdose reversal is essential in helping these victims. First, you must know the signs of an opioid overdose.

Some of these signs include:

  • Limp arms and legs
  • Inability to speak
  • Extremely small pupils
  • Pale skin
  • Slowed and shallow breathing
  • Vomiting
  • Unconsciousness
  • Purple lips and fingernails

Always call 911 for professional medical services. Naloxone for opioid overdose reversal only works for about 30 to 90 minutes. Some opioids remain in the system much longer than this. For this reason, it is of the utmost importance to still call 911 immediately.

Who Should Maintain Naloxone for Opioid Overdose Reversal?

Anyone who has a loved one who struggles with opioid addiction or abuse should keep naloxone on hand at all times. Keep it in the home as well as carry it with you. Ask your loved one to keep it on hand and let friends and others know where it is in case of an emergency.

Today, police officers, medical emergency technicians, and first responders are all carrying naloxone for opioid overdose reversal. You can buy naloxone without a prescription or you can have your family physician prescribe it along with opioid painkiller prescriptions. Your doctor or your pharmacist can train you on how to administer this product. Knowing you might save the life of a loved one is worth the amount of money you will pay for naloxone.

Naloxone is Not a Free Pass for Opioid Abusers or Addicts

Naloxone is not a drug for addicts to carry and use any time they think they have overdosed on their drug of abuse. If a person has a problem with the abuse of opioids, naloxone can save their life in the case of an accidental overdose. Afterward, this person should seek intensive inpatient addiction treatment for detoxification and counseling returning to a sober lifestyle which is free of opioid abuse and addiction.

Contact A Forever Recovery to learn about the many different addiction treatment programs that we offer. One of our representatives can answer any questions you may have about our programs and our facility. Contact us today!


  • – Drug Facts: Naloxone

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