Narcan Uses, Side Effects, Interactions & Warnings
What is Narcan and what are Narcan uses? Are there Narcan side effects, interactions, and warnings?
The following provides an overview of what Narcan is, and the Narcan side effects, interactions, and warnings people should know about.
Opioids are a class of drugs that include prescription painkillers, as well as street drugs like heroin. These drugs have been part of a sweeping epidemic in the U.S., and lawmakers, communities, and individuals have been working on ways of curbing the drug use itself, and the effects of these drugs, which often includes deaths.
When someone takes opioids, they bind to certain receptors in their brain, which is why they create a euphoric high for a short period of time. Following that high, a person who uses opioids will generally then feel drowsy, and they may nod off intermittently. For some people who take opioids in doses that are too high, the activity of their central nervous system will slow to a dangerous level.
The central nervous system is responsible for essential functions including breathing. When your central nervous system slows too much because of the effects of opioids, you can become sedated, slip into a coma or die. This is what’s known as an overdose.
It’s unfortunately all too easy to overdose on opioids, because people underestimate their effects, or they may buy them on the street and not know their true potency.
Narcan or naloxone has been introduced as a way to combat overdose deaths, and when this prescription drug is administered, it knocks the drugs out of the opioid receptors and reverses their effects. It can bring a person out of a state of sedation following an opioid overdose, and it can restore normal respiration.
For people whose loved ones struggle with addiction to opioids, whether this is heroin or prescription drugs, it can be valuable to learn the symptoms of an overdose. Signs a person has overdosed on opioids can include excessive drowsiness, pinpoint pupils, clamminess, or slow, shallow breathing.
Narcan Nasal Spray is designed to be easy to give, even for non-emergency or medical professionals, and it can be used in home-based situations.
In many states, while Narcan and other versions of naloxone are prescription drugs, they can be purchased without a prescription in a pharmacy, and they can be given by friends or family members.
So what are Narcan uses?
Narcan uses only include the reversal of opioid overdoses. It has no other approved uses, and if someone were to take Narcan and they weren’t experiencing an overdose, they wouldn’t get high. What could happen is that they would go into immediate opioid withdrawal if they’re physically dependent on opioids, which can be uncomfortable but not deadly.
Even following the use of Narcan, a person who has had an opioid overdose should still receive emergency care, and for some people, multiple doses of Narcan may be needed to fully reverse the overdose.
Narcan effects are only seen in people who have taken opioids, and one of the primary Narcan side effects to be aware of is the fact that the drug can in some cases cause withdrawal symptoms, but it doesn’t always.
If naloxone is injected, it can cause sweating, pain, burning or redness at the injection site.
The rare but possible severe side effects of naloxone can include irregular heartbeat, hallucinations, and seizures. In babies treated with naloxone after being born dependent on opioids, side effects can include excessive crying, and stronger than normal reflexes.
Again, these Narcan side effects are rare and not often seen.
It should also be noted that Narcan doesn’t work to reverse the effects of other substances, like drugs from other classes or alcohol, but it can still reverse an opioid overdose even if other drugs are present in the system.
Narcan is considered a very safe drug to help reverse opioid overdoses and save lives, and in most states, it’s available without a prescription in an outpatient setting.
Have more questions about Narcan abuse?Read the most frequently asked questions
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