Narcan Nasal Spray Cost & Uses
Narcan spray is a prescription drug that’s increasingly been put in the national spotlight, and although it’s for unfortunate reasons, it is helpful and valuable as the U.S. battles an opioid epidemic claiming lives every day.
The following is an overview of what Narcan spray is, how it can be obtained, and also general information about the Narcan Nasal Spray cost.
When someone takes opioids, they bind to certain receptors in the brain and create a euphoric high. They also depress the central nervous system, which is responsible for controlling essential functions like breathing.
If someone takes more of an opioid than their brain or body can handle it can slow their breathing to a dangerous level, or stop it altogether. This is an overdose.
An opioid overdose can lead to long-term physical or mental impairment, as well as death and the number of deaths in the U.S. resulting from opioid overdoses has risen exponentially in recent years.
Some of the signs of an overdose along with slowed or stopped breathing can include pinpoint pupils and either being non-responsive or unconscious.
Narcan is the brand name of a generic drug called naloxone. Naloxone, as mentioned above, is an opioid antagonist, and when someone who has overdosed on opioids takes it, it reverses the effects of the drugs by knocking the drugs from the opioid receptors. Narcan nasal spray blocks the effects of opioids, and it can’t be used to get high.
If someone were to take Narcan spray without experiencing an overdose, there would be no effects other than the potential to go into immediate withdrawal symptoms.
The use of Narcan spray can work even if someone has taken other drugs or alcohol with opioids, although it won’t reverse the effects of those.
When Narcan spray is administered, it begins reversing the effects of opioids within two to five minutes. For some people, another dose of Narcan spray may be needed. Following the administration of Narcan spray, people still need emergency care.
For example, recently Walgreens announced it had begun selling a nasal spray version of naloxone without a prescription at all pharmacies nationwide. Walgreens also said as part of this initiative it would be educating patients on the use of Narcan spray, and how to administer it.
People are instructed to use Narcan Nasal Spray right away if signs of an opioid overdose are suspected.
When it comes to opioid overdoses, there are very few people who are advised not to use Narcan, since it is considered a safe drug with relatively few side effects. Some of the people who shouldn’t use it include individuals allergic to naloxone hydrochloride, or any of the other ingredients found in Narcan nasal spray.
When Narcan nasal spray is administered, it should be done as soon as possible, because the longer someone experiences respiratory depression, the more likely they are to experience central nervous system and brain damage, and the more likely it is that they die from the overdose.
With each dose of Narcan spray a person is given, it should be given in alternating nostrils. If someone responds to the first dose of the Narcan spray, they don’t have to be given more doses. If they are given an initial dose, and they still show signs of respiratory depression or overdose, more doses of Narcan can be given, while waiting for emergency services to arrive.
If someone doesn’t respond within about two minutes to the first dose of Narcan, it may be a sign they need another dose. Doses can be given every two to three minutes when it’s available.
This is something people may be concerned about, but along with nationwide efforts to make it more available and accessible, there have also been efforts to keep the cost of Narcan Nasal Spray under control. This is because last year more than 50,000 people died from drug overdoses, and Narcan is seen as a key way to combat these deaths and lower the risks associated with the use of opioids.
The manufacturer of Narcan nasal spray partners with wholesalers, retail pharmacies, and distributors to make it broadly available. The company, ADAPT Pharma, also collaborates with Pharmacy Benefits Managers and insurance companies which include Medicaid to make sure the price remains affordable and what they describe as “reasonable.”
Also important to understand when considering the Narcan Nasal Spray cost is the fact that there is widely available public and private insurance coverage.
94% of people with insurance have access to Narcan Nasal Spray, and the majority of prescriptions for Narcan were purchased using private or public health insurance in the first half of 2017. For people using insurance to purchase Narcan Spray, the co-pay is as low as $0 and only goes up to around $20 in most cases.
There are also discounts for community access when groups are purchasing it in larger amounts, and for people paying cash for Narcan, as mentioned the manufacturer has taken steps to keep the costs low and reasonable.
To give a rough estimate, a full naloxone kit usually costs anywhere from $20 to $40. For the Narcan nasal spray, it may be around $150 for a dose, before any insurance or discounts.
Have more questions about Narcan abuse?Read the most frequently asked questions
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