Will naloxone show up on a drug test?
Naloxone is not included in routine drug testing for drugs that may be abused. Naloxone is an opioid antagonist, which means it reverses the effects of opioids like heroin, oxycodone (OxyContin), fentanyl and morphine. This drug is used to treat an opioid overdose. Naloxone can be given alone as a nasal spray or injection and is available through a pharmacist without a prescription. On March 29th, 2023, it was FDA-approved for over-the-counter use and is expected to be available in drug stores, convenience stores, grocery stores and gas stations, as well as online, by late summer.
In special circumstances, but not as part of routine drug testing, naloxone can be tested in urine. This test may be done to monitor a person being treated with a combination of naloxone and buprenorphine as part of an opioid abuse treatment program. The test is done to make sure a person in treatment is continuing to take naloxone and buprenorphine. Naloxone is taken to prevent an overdose, and buprenorphine is given to reduce opioid cravings. Examples of this combination drug are Suboxone and Zubsolv.
Drug tests that are done for suspected drug use or to rule out drug use in the workplace or school usually include testing for:
- Opiates, such as heroin, codeine, oxycodone, morphine, hydrocodone and fentanyl
Other drugs that may be tested are:
These drug tests are done to look for drugs that are often abused, including legal and illegal prescription drugs. Although drug testing can be done with blood, saliva or hair, the most common method is urine testing.
Naloxone is not a drug that can be abused. It is a safe medicine that has no effect on you if you have not taken an opioid. Naloxone quickly reverses an opioid overdose by attaching to opioid receptors in your brain. This blocks the life-threatening opioid effects of slowed or stopped breathing.
Signs of an opioid overdose also include:
- Loss of consciousness
- Tiny pupils
- Pale skin
- Purple lips or fingernails.
Naloxone should be given to any person with a suspected opioid overdose. Naloxone may be used by emergency service providers or by the family or friends of a person at risk for opioid overdose. After giving naloxone, call 911 right away. Opioids may remain in a person’s system after naloxone wears off, and there is still a risk for overdose effects.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Drug Testing. February 17, 2023. Available at: https://www.samhsa.gov/workplace/resources/drug-testing. [Accessed March 30, 2023].
- U.S. National Library of Medicine (MedlinePlus). Drug Testing. June 7, 2022. Available at: https://medlineplus.gov/lab-tests/drug-testing/. [Accessed March 30, 2023].
- National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Naloxone. January 2022. Available at: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/naloxone. [Accessed March 30, 2023].
- Quest Diagnostics. Drug Monitoring, Buprenorphine, with Confirmation, includes Naloxone, Urine. 2023. Available at: https://testdirectory.questdiagnostics.com/test/test-detail/39373/drug-monitoring-buprenorphine-with-confirmation-includes-naloxone-urine?cc=MASTER [Accessed March 30, 2023].
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Suboxone. October 2019. Available at: https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2019/020733s024lbl.pdf. [Accessed March 30, 2023].
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Zubsolv. December 2016. Available at: https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2016/204242s009lbl.pdf. [Accessed March 30, 2023].
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