Generic Name: naloxone (nasal) (na LOX one)
Brand Name: Narcan
Medically reviewed: September 12, 2017
What is Narcan?
Naloxone blocks or reverses the effects of opioid medication, including extreme drowsiness, slowed breathing, or loss of consciousness. An opioid is sometimes called a narcotic.
Narcan (for use in the nose) is used to treat a narcotic overdose in an emergency situation. This medicine should not be used in place of emergency medical care for an overdose.
Narcan is also used to help diagnose whether a person has used an overdose of an opioid.
Narcan may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
In an emergency situation it may not be possible to tell your caregivers about your health conditions. Make sure any doctor caring for you afterward knows you have received this medicine.
Before taking this medicine
You should not be treated with naloxone if you are allergic to it.
If possible before you receive naloxone, tell your doctor if you have heart disease.
It is not known whether this medicine will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant.
It is not known whether Narcan passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
In an emergency situation it may not be possible to tell your caregivers if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Make sure any doctor caring for your pregnancy or your baby knows you have received this medicine.
How should I use Narcan?
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 Narcan.
Narcan should be sprayed into the nose while the person is lying on his or her back.
If you are a caregiver or family member giving Narcan to another person, read all instructions when you first get this medicine. Read all caregiver information, medication guides, and instruction sheets provided with 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 Narcan 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 Narcan. 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 single-use spray pump contains enough Narcan for one use only. Throw away after one use, even if there is still some medicine left in the pump after using a dose.
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.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Because you will receive naloxone in an emergency situation, you are not likely to miss a dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Since each spray pump contains only enough Narcan for one dose, an overdose is unlikely to occur.
What should I avoid while taking Narcan?
Avoid leaving a person alone after giving him or her a dose of Narcan. An overdose can impair a person's thinking or reactions.
Narcan 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 Narcan reverses opioid effects, this medicine may cause sudden withdrawal symptoms such as:
fever, sweating, body aches, weakness;
tremors or shivering, fast heart rate, pounding heartbeats, increased blood pressure;
feeling nervous, restless, or irritable;
runny nose, yawning; or
(in babies younger than 4 weeks old) seizures, crying, stiffness, overactive reflexes.
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.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
What other drugs will affect Narcan?
Other drugs may interact with 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.
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.
Copyright 1996-2018 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 2.01.
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