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How do you administer Narcan Nasal Spray?

Medically reviewed by Judith Stewart, BPharm. Last updated on March 29, 2023.

Official answer


What is Narcan Nasal Spray?

Narcan Nasal Spray (naloxone hydrochloride) is a life-saving medication that can stop or reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. It is administered as a single spray into one nostril. Additional doses may be administered if the patient does not respond.

How to administer Narcan Nasal Spray

People at risk for opioid overdose and their family members or caregivers should read the Instructions for Use that comes with Narcan Nasal Spray before using it.

Narcan Nasal Spray can be used for known or suspected opioid overdose in adults and children.

Important: For use in the nose only.

  • Do not remove or test the Narcan Nasal Spray until ready to use.
  • Each Narcan Nasal Spray contains one dose and cannot be reused.
  • You do not need to prime Narcan Nasal Spray.

Step 1. Lay the person on their back to receive a dose of Narcan Nasal Spray. Support their neck with your hand and allow the head to tilt back before giving Narcan Nasal Spray.

Step 2. Remove Narcan Nasal Spray from the box. Peel back the tab with the circle to open the Narcan Nasal Spray.

Step 3. Hold the Narcan Nasal Spray with your thumb on the bottom of the red plunger and your first and middle fingers on either side of the nozzle.

Step 4. Tilt the person’s head back and provide support under the neck with your hand. Gently insert the tip of the nozzle into one nostril until your fingers on either side of the nozzle are against the bottom of the person’s nose.

Step 5. Press the red plunger firmly to give the dose of Narcan Nasal Spray.

Step 6. Remove the Narcan Nasal Spray from the nostril after giving the dose.

Step 7. Get emergency medical help right away.

  • Move the person on their side (recovery position) after giving Narcan Nasal Spray.
  • Watch the person closely.
  • If the person does not respond by waking up, to voice or touch, or breathing normally another dose may be given. Narcan Nasal Spray may be dosed every 2 to 3 minutes, if available.
  • Repeat Steps 2 through 6 using a new Narcan Nasal Spray to give another dose in the other nostril. If additional Narcan Nasal Sprays are available, Steps 2 through 6 may be repeated every 2 to 3 minutes until the person responds or emergency medical help is received.

Step 8. Put the used Narcan Nasal Spray back into its box.

Step 9. Throw away (dispose of) the used Narcan Nasal Spray in a place that is away from children.

Note: Narcan Nasal Spray freezes at temperatures below 5°F (-15°C). If this happens, the device will not spray. Get emergency medical help right away if this happens. Do not wait for Narcan Nasal Spray to thaw. Narcan Nasal Spray may still be used if it has been thawed after being previously frozen.

What is an opioid overdose?

Opioids (also known as narcotics) are a class of drugs used mostly to treat moderate to severe pain. Examples include the common prescription opioids such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, oxymorphone, morphine, codeine, and fentanyl, and the illicit opioid heroin. An opioid overdose occurs when someone uses enough of the drug to produce life-threatening symptoms such severe sleepiness, unresponsiveness, and impaired breathing, which can result in coma, permanent brain damage, or death.

  • U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Narcan Nasal Spray Product Label. Available at [Accessed April 8, 2021]

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