Naloxone (Narcan) and Its Effects


Naloxone is a pure opioid antagonist medication that reverses the depression of the central nervous system and the respiratory system. In drug abuse, this depression can be caused by opioid drugs such as heroin, oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, methadone etc. Naloxone has proven to be quite effective as an opioid intervention medication to reverse the effects of opioid drugs. Naloxone is also used to treat other respiratory disorders and septic shock. Naloxone works within two minutes when administered intravenously and about five minutes when injected into a muscle. The effects of Naloxone last about one-half to one hour.

Naloxone (Narcan) and Its EffectsAs an intervention drug treatment, Naloxone may be administered in multiple doses because most opioid drugs have a longer duration time than Naloxone. People who have a heroin or other opioid dependency may experience withdrawal symptoms when given Naloxone. Some of these symptoms are rapid heart rate, sweating, nausea, vomiting and agitation. To avoid withdrawal symptoms, Naloxone may be administered in very small doses.

In 1971, Naloxone was approved as an intervention drug treatment for opioid overdose by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Naloxone is included in the World Health Organization’s (WHO) List of Essential Medicines, and considered an essential medication in any health care system.

As a drug treatment, Naloxone is used to reduce respiratory or mental depression caused by heroin drug abuse. It is also used as an intervention for acute opioid overdose. Naloxone is included as part of emergency overdose response kits to treat heroin and other opioid drug addicts during crisis. Naloxone has helped to reduce the rate of deaths caused by opioid respiratory depression. It is prescribed for people on high doses of opioid medications or opioid drug abuse as a standard drug treatment intervention.

To try to prevent opioid abuse, Naloxone is often combined with other opioid medications. When the medication is taken orally as prescribed, the opioid effects are present. If the medication is abused in any way, the Naloxone will block the opioid effects.

Naloxone is classified as a prescription medication in the U.S. and generic forms of the drug are: Evzio, Narcan, Prenoxad Injection, Nalone and more. Naloxone can be administered by medical professionals; but also firemen, paramedics and law enforcement officers, because they are usually the first responders to heroin and other opioid overdose situations. They carry and administer a Naloxone nasal spray device which they use as an opioid intervention to reverse shallow, depressed breathing in opioid addicts. Naloxone is a drug treatment that has saved many lives.

Washington State law allows people at risk for an opioid overdose to get a prescription for Naloxone. Take-home Naloxone may be carried by those at risk for overdose, their family members or friends. Washington State has a wide distribution policy of Naloxone as an opioid drug treatment to prevent fatal overdose.

Naloxone medication only works when there is a presence of opioid drugs in the body and it is not addictive. It is a safe, effective heroin or other opioid drug abuse intervention that safely pulls a person back from the grip of overdose death. If an addict loses consciousness or has trouble breathing, call 911, begin rescue breathing and administer Naloxone if available. Naloxone will wake the person up and help them start breathing normally again. Withdrawal symptoms may start as the Naloxone works in the body so try to keep the person as comfortable as possible.

If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the White Sands Treatment Center at (877) 556-9584. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

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