How Long Do the Effects of Narcan Last?
The opioid epidemic is something that has garnered major national attention, especially in recent years. It’s been defined as a national health crisis, as the number of people who abuse, are addicted to and ultimately overdose and die because of opioids has gone up drastically over the years.
Policymakers, communities, and loved ones are always looking for ways to help curb the effects of opioid addiction, but it’s difficult to tackle, and there are few solutions that seem to be working thus far.
Drug overdoses have become the top cause of death for people in America under the age of 50. Of those deaths, two-thirds are because of opioids. It’s estimated that if trends continue as they are now, 500,000 people could die around the world because of the opioid epidemic within the next ten years.
Many overdoses are unintentional, and a big chunk of the opioid overdose deaths are the result of fentanyl, which is an incredibly potent drug that’s flooded the black market.
While Narcan isn’t a solution for the opioid problem itself, it can save lives. The following is an overview of Narcan (naloxone), which also highlights specifics such as the Narcan half-life.
Narcan Nasal Spray is the brand name of a generic drug called naloxone, which isn’t new but has become more widely available as the opioid epidemic has grown in scale.
Narcan Nasal Spray is something intended to be administered when a person is overdosing on opioids. It’s defined as an opioid antagonist, and when someone takes opioids and overdoses, then is given Narcan, it knocks the drugs from the central nervous system receptors. This reverses the effects of the drugs, including the overdose symptoms.
Narcan works very quickly, usually within two to five minutes, and it saves many lives.
Narcan and naloxone products are prescription drugs, but there has been a big push to make them more readily available to more people, so in most states, they can be purchased over-the-counter.
A few things to note about Narcan include the fact that it needs to be given right away as soon as the signs of an opioid overdose are noticed, and it doesn’t replace emergency care. Instead, it’s supposed to be something that buys time while emergency teams arrive. It can be used in adults and children.
Narcan doesn’t have any effects if someone isn’t experiencing an opioid overdose or currently on opioids.
The biggest effect of Narcan or naloxone in someone who is using opioids or overdosing is that they may go into symptoms of withdrawal right after taking it. Opioid withdrawal is uncomfortable, but not deadly. In some cases, naloxone (not Narcan), is actually added to certain opioid medications to reduce the risk of abuse.
The effects of Narcan last anywhere from half an hour to an hour.
For some people, multiple doses are required, because the length of action of opioids is longer than naloxone’s duration of action.
What is the Narcan half-life?
Narcan is metabolized in the liver, and studies have shown the half-life in adults to be anywhere from 30 to 81 minutes. In infants, the half-life is around 3.1 hours.
Again, Narcan and any form of naloxone doesn’t have any effect if there are no opioids present in a person’s body. It doesn’t have the potential for abuse, and all that it does is reverse the effects of opioids including respiratory depression so that the person who has overdosed can resume normal breathing.
The Narcan half-life is around 30 to 80 minutes, and it tends to have a shorter duration of action than opioids themselves, so multiple doses might be needed in someone who is experiencing an overdose.
The effects of Narcan aren’t long-lasting, but it can save lives as someone who has overdosed awaits emergency care.
Have more questions about Narcan abuse?Read the most frequently asked questions
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