How Do You Administer Narcan?
Opioids are a class of drugs that have given rise to what’s called the opioid epidemic or the opioid crisis. These drugs, which include prescription painkillers like oxycodone and hydrocodone as well as heroin, bind to certain central nervous receptors. In doing so, they relieve pain and also create feelings of euphoria that make them addictive.
Many people who become addicted to opioids started out taking them as prescribed for legitimate pain and then found they were abusing them and ultimately were addicted. It’s unfortunate because these drugs do have therapeutic benefits, but also many risks. People who begin abusing prescription opioids may also move on to using heroin because it’s cheaper and frequently more accessible.
Because of the opioid epidemic, there’s more attention focused on a prescription drug called naloxone. Naloxone is an opioid antagonist that when administered, reverses the effects of an opioid overdose. It is a life-saving drug, but it doesn’t deal with the root issues leading to opioid addiction.
Narcan is administered in the nostril of the overdosing individual. One dose equals one spray into the nostril of someone experiencing an overdose, and within two to five minutes it should start reversing the overdose.
For some people, multiple doses of Narcan may be required while emergency services are on the way.
Narcan, like other versions of Naloxone, knocks opioids out of the receptors they bind to in the central nervous system, thereby eliminating the effects of the drugs.
While Narcan and other types of naloxone are technically prescription drugs, most states around the country have made them accessible over-the-counter, as the opioid epidemic has worsened.
Along with the Narcan nasal spray, there are other versions of Naloxone as well.
There’s also a brand name injectable version of naloxone called EVZIO. This is a prescription drug that is also used to treat opioid overdoses, where there are signs such as extreme drowsiness, sedation or breathing problems. EVZIO is the only auto-injector available with naloxone, so it’s more like a pen, while the idea of a Narcan pen doesn’t exist. Instead, as was touched on above, Narcan is given as a nasal spray.
EVZIO tends to be more expensive than other versions of naloxone including Narcan.
EVZIO features a training kit when it’s purchased, and the EVZIO naloxone pen includes a prefilled and portable system that can be given intramuscularly or below the skin in the outer thigh. It can also be given through clothing, if necessary.
So to sum up, is there a Narcan pen? No, but there is a naloxone pen called EVZIO. Narcan is a brand name nasal spray version of naloxone, and there are also generic injectable naloxone products available.
Have more questions about Narcan abuse?Read the most frequently asked questions
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