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Naloxone (nasal)

Generic name: naloxone (nasal) (na LOX one)
Brand name: Narcan
Dosage forms: nasal spray (4 mg/0.1 mL)
Drug class: Antidotes

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com on Feb 4, 2021. Written by Cerner Multum.

What is naloxone nasal?

Naloxone blocks or reverses the effects of opioid medication, including extreme drowsiness, slowed breathing, or loss of consciousness.

Naloxone is used in an emergency situation to treat a possible opioid overdose in an adult or child.

naloxone should not be used in place of emergency medical care for an overdose.

Naloxone nasal may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Warnings

Naloxone is used to treat a possible opioid overdose. An opioid overdose can be fatal, and symptoms may include severe drowsiness, pinpoint pupils, slow breathing, or no breathing.

A person caring for you can give the naloxone if you stop breathing or don't wake up. Make sure any person caring for you knows where you keep naloxone and how to use it.

You must get emergency help after giving naloxone nasal spray. You may need to give another spray every 2 to 3 minutes until emergency help arrives.

Before taking this medicine

You should not be treated with naloxone if you are allergic to it.

If possible before you receive naloxone nasal, tell your doctor if:

  • you have heart problems; or

  • you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Using naloxone while you are pregnant may cause opioid withdrawal effects in your unborn baby. However, having an opioid overdose can be fatal to both mother and baby. It is much more important to treat an overdose in the mother. You must get emergency medical help after using naloxone. Be sure all emergency medical caregivers know that you are pregnant.

If you use opioid medicine while you are pregnant, your baby could become dependent on the drug. This can cause life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in the baby after it is born. Babies born dependent on opioids may need medical treatment for several weeks.

In an emergency, you may not be able to tell caregivers if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Make sure any doctor caring for your pregnancy or your baby knows you received naloxone.

How should I use naloxone nasal?

Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not use this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

This medicine may be given by a healthcare provider, emergency medical provider, or a family member or caregiver who is trained to properly give naloxone nasal.

Naloxone nasal should be sprayed into the nose while the person is lying on his or her back.

If you are a caregiver or family member read all instructions when you first get this medicine. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.

Be sure you know how to recognize the signs of an opioid overdose in the person you are caring for. Overdose symptoms may include:

  • slowed breathing, or no breathing;

  • very small or pinpoint pupils in the eyes;

  • slow heartbeats; or

  • extreme drowsiness, especially if you are unable to wake the person from sleep.

Even if you are not sure an opioid overdose has occurred, if the person is not breathing or is unresponsive, give naloxone nasal right away and then seek emergency medical care.

Do not assume that an overdose episode has ended if symptoms improve. You must get emergency help after giving naloxone nasal. You may need to perform CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) on the person while you are waiting for emergency help to arrive.

After giving this medicine, stay with the person and watch for continued signs of overdose. You may need to give another dose every 2 to 3 minutes until emergency help arrives. Follow all medication instructions carefully.

Each nasal spray pump is for one use only. Throw away after one use, even if there is still some medicine left inside.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Keep each spray pump in the box until you are ready to give a dose. Do not use this medicine if the expiration date on the label has passed.

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What happens if I miss a dose?

Since naloxone is used when needed, naloxone has no dosing schedule.

What happens if I overdose?

Since naloxone nasal is supplied as the correct dose in a single-use spray pump, an overdose is unlikely to occur.

What should I avoid while taking naloxone nasal?

Avoid leaving a person alone after giving him or her a dose of naloxone nasal. An overdose can impair a person's thinking or reactions.

Naloxone nasal side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Because naloxone nasal reverses opioid effects, naloxone may cause sudden withdrawal symptoms such as:

  • nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain;

  • fever, sweating, body aches, weakness;

  • tremors or shivering, fast heart rate, pounding heartbeats, increased blood pressure;

  • goose bumps, shivering;

  • runny nose, yawning; or

  • feeling nervous, restless, or irritable.

Sudden withdrawal symptoms in a baby younger than 4 weeks old may be life-threatening if not treated the right way. Symptoms include crying, stiffness, overactive reflexes, and seizures. Call your doctor or get emergency medical help if you are not sure how to properly give this medicine to a baby.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect naloxone nasal?

Other drugs may affect naloxone, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.

Frequently asked questions

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.