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Narcan and Naloxone Use in the U.S.

Narcan and Naloxone Use in the U.S.

The Need for Narcan and Naloxone in the United States

There is a definite need for Narcan and Naloxone in the United States. These medications are used to save lives in the event of opioid overdose. Considering current opioid overdose statistics, these medications are in serious demand.

According to the CDC, there were more than 33,000 opioid overdoses in the United States alone. Almost half of these involved a prescription opioid drug. All of these were fatal.

It’s difficult to say how many of these individuals had access to medications like Narcan. Most likely, it was too late for them to receive it. Naloxone has shown to be a life-saving medication for so many people.

What is Narcan?

Narcan is Naloxone. Wikipedia tells us that it is a medication used to block the effects of opioids. It is frequently used in overdose situations because it reverses them. It may be necessary for people to receive more than one dose of Narcan after an overdose. The drug can be administered in a number of different ways. We’ll cover those in just a moment.

What is Narcan Narcan

Naloxone vs. Narcan: What’s the Difference?

Sometimes people become confused as to what the difference is between these two medications. They are one in the same. Naloxone is the generic form of the drug. Narcan is one of the drug’s brand names. 

Narcan’s classification is as an opioid antidote. It works on medications like:

  • Heroin
  • Oxycodone
  • Methadone
  • Vicodin
  • Morphine
  • Codeine

Narcan Indications and Naloxone Uses

Narcan’s drug class is antidotes. This means that it is usually only indicated when an opiate overdose is suspected. Even so, there are other uses for Naloxone as well. For example, the FDA has approved Naloxone for the management of septic shock. 

Narcan Uses

Naloxone and Naltrexone should never been confused with each other, though they often are. Both drugs are opioid antagonists, and are used to treat opiate dependence. Even so, they block opioids in a very different manner.

Narcan can be administered in a few different ways. The usual Narcan dose is between .4mg and 2mg. Most people need to have repeat dosages of Naloxone if the desired results are not reached. The maximum Naloxone dose that is generally needed is 10mg. 

Naloxone can be administered through an IV, as a Narcan injection, or with the Narcan nasal spray. The IV is the best route because the medication gets into the blood stream quicker. EMS personnel are usually able to administer the Narcan shot or the nasal spray. This is sufficient until the individual gets to the hospital to receive Naloxone through an IV.

Evzio is quite a bit different from Narcan, but it is still extremely beneficial. For someone who is addicted to opioids, a caretaker or family member may keep this on hand at home. 

Evzio contains a Naloxone dose that a loved one can administer in the event of a suspected overdose. It comes in an easy to understand, auto-injector package. There are clear written instructions, and there are also voice instructions included with each package. 

If a family member believes an addicted loved one is showing signs of an overdose, quick action is necessary. There isn’t always time to wait for medical personnel to arrive. Even so, EMS workers should still be called to the scene. It may be necessary for the individual to receive a Narcan dose. EMS workers are equipped and able to provide this.

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How Does Narcan Work?

Research has shown that Narcan is extremely effective in the early overdose stage. However, people often want to know, how does Naloxone work?.

How Does Narcan Work

The best way to explain this is to think of opioid receptors in the brain as locks. When someone uses opioid drugs like heroin or oxycodone, they act as keys in the locks. As they “unlock” the locks, they cause a certain reaction in the body and mind. This reaction is what people refer to as getting high.

When someone overdoses on opioids, and Naloxone is introduced, it also acts as a key. However, it is a very different key. It will remove the opioid drug that is occupying the lock and bring about sobriety immediately. This is also known as the Narcan mechanism of action.

As you can see, Narcan is extremely beneficial, and it works very well for those who need it. This drug is responsible for saving thousands of lives every single year. Even so, quick action is necessary. If too much time has passed before the drug is administered, the result is likely to be fatal.

It would be wonderful if Naloxone worked by simply making someone sober. If no other effects were felt from it, it would, indeed, be a wonder drug. That is not the case when Narcan is administered. 

What does narcan do to the Body

The good news is that Narcan works very quickly. There are people who get it who will come to in about 30 seconds. Unfortunately, the effects of some opioids may be stronger than the medication. This means that the overdose can take over once Naloxone wears off. This is why people need to remain under medical care for much longer as the opioids leave the system. 

A dosage of Naloxone will immediately put someone into opiate withdrawal. The typical symptoms of opioid withdrawal include: 

  • Excessive pain
  • Symptoms of anxiety
  • Symptoms of depression
  • An upset stomach
  • Bouts of diarrhea 

Additional medication can be given in some cases to help with these symptoms. They are very hard to handle, and the reason why most people continue to use opiates.

Typically, Naloxone will work for between 30 and 90 minutes to block opiates. This is dependent upon a number of different factors. The types of opiates the person took can play a role in this. The dosage of opiates taken, and whether or not they are a frequent opioid user are also factors to consider.

Narcan is considered by many to be a miracle drug, and there’s no doubt that it is. Still, it doesn’t last forever. Continued treatment with Narcan may be needed until doctors feel it’s safe to discontinue it.

What are the Narcan Side Effects?

Like all medications, there are side effects to using Naloxone. Typical side effects of this medication can include: 

  • The onset of chest pain
  • Fast or irregular heart rate
  • A dry cough
  • Feeling short of breath
  • Severe vomiting
  • A painful headache
  • Confusion or brain fog
  • The onset of seizures 

While these side effects are concerning, they are not enough to derail the use of Narcan. Many of these can be treated with other types of medications.

Sometimes someone who is taking Suboxone will overdose on opiate drugs. When this occurs, Naloxone is often administered. The combination of these two drugs can carry side effects of its own. 

For patients taking Suboxone, the side effects of Narcan can include all of the above, as well as: 

  • The feeling of being drunk
  • Problems with concentration
  • Feeling drowsy or having trouble sleeping
  • Mild dizziness
  • A numbness or tingling throughout the body
  • Stomach pain

There are some Naloxone contraindications that you should be aware of. Narcan may not be compatible with some medications. Also, if someone has used Naloxone before, and shown sensitivity to it, it might not be appropriate.

Even so, in most cases, Narcan is the go-to drug in the event of an overdose. For someone who is pregnant, alternate methods may be used if an overdose is suspected.

Is a Narcan Overdose Possible?

WhenOne of the things that makes Naloxone such a good choice is that it’s not possible to overdose on it. When taken in large doses, it doesn’t cause any type of euphoria. This means it’s not desirable as a drug in that way. Narcan is also heavily controlled. Even when civilians have it, it is only available as Evzio, which is also controlled.

Is a Narcan Overdose Possible

The face that Narcan isn’t addictive and can’t be used to overdose speaks volumes about this drug. Of course, there is always the question of Narcan abuse, and whether this could be a possibility.

The Potential Problem of Naloxone Abuse

The Revia/Naltrexone 50mg pill is also likely to cause some side effects. When you take this medication, you may experience:

Now that we’ve answered the question, can you overdose on Narcan?, it’s important to answer another question. That question is, is it possible for Naloxone to be abused?. It is, but not in the way that other drugs are abused. 

Narcan abuse is virtually unheard of in the “traditional” sense because of how this drug is controlled.

However, there are those who might use other drugs in excess, knowing about the availability of Narcan. In this way, it is possible for the use of Narcan to be seen as abuse. 

Naloxone is a life-saving drug that should only be used when absolutely necessary. To use it as a way out from overdose again and again is dangerous. No one should go through opiate withdrawal that often. Doing so is incredibly taxing on the mind and on the body.

How Much Does Naloxone Cost?

One of the questions people always ask is, what is the Narcan cost per dose? This is an opioid overdose antidote that some people need. Their lives depend on its availability. Still, what happens if they can’t afford it?

How Much Does Naloxone Cost

According to the Scientific American, the price of Naloxone has been steadily increasing since 1971. This is disheartening to say the least. For those who need this drug, the price of it is equal to gambling with their lives. 

The Narcan dose cost should not be so high, but reports are that: 

  • Evzio has gone from $640 in 2014 to $4,500 in 2017.
  • The Narcan nasal spray dose cost is currently $150, which is double what it was a few years ago.
  • Another similar drug costs $40 per dose, but this is also double the 2009 price. 

The price of Evzio is astronomical, and this is a drug that addicts need to have access to. The use of this medication could cut down on the number of opioid overdoses in the United States each year.

Fortunately, there are many online coupons and savings programs available. These can cut the costs of these drugs drastically. For example, to make Narcan more affordable, the Narcan manufacturer offers assistance. They state that most people with private insurance only have to pay a $10 co-pay. Some pay even less. 

The makers of Evzio also offer a patient savings program to those who can’t afford the medication. This is relieving to many who need to know these drugs are available to them, despite the cost.

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Additional Questions You May Have About Naloxone/Narcan

No, they cannot. Pentazocine is an opioid drug that is used to relieve pain. It is not useful for treating addiction, and can actually lead to addiction. This drug often includes Naloxone because it offsets the addictive properties of Pentazocine. This is why the two are combined and sold together.

Addicts often wonder about the answer to this question. They want to know if it’s safe for them to get high after using Naloxone. The answer is, of course, that it is never safe to get high. Even so, within a few hours’ time, the Narcan will wear off. At that point, people may continue to experience the sensation of being high, even without more drugs. This is because the opioid drugs may move back to the opioid receptors.

There has been no research to confirm or deny that Narcan enters breast milk. Therefore, it’s hard to answer this question. Anyone who needs Naloxone should be made aware that the individual is nursing, if at all possible.

Romazicon is a medication that can reverse the effects of benzodiazepines. In this way, it is similar because it is a drug antidote. However, it would not be useful for someone who has overdosed on opiate drugs.

The Next Steps After an Opioid Overdose

Far too many people suffer from an opiate overdose and then go back to using directly afterwards. These are individuals who need treatment, not more drugs. Unfortunately, there are hospitals that will just release patients without strongly recommending treatment. In most of these cases, their drug use will just continue until they suffer from a fatal overdose. 

This does not have to be the case for you. Perhaps you suffered from overdose, and you received Narcan, only to return to using drugs once again. If you did, you’re not alone. You might not realize that there is more that you should be doing.

It would greatly benefit you to go through a period of drug detox for your opioid addiction. No one likes the thought of going through opiate withdrawal. If you have had a dose of Narcan, you know what that feels like. Drug detox can help make opioid withdrawal much easier on you.

Getting Drug Treatment After Naloxone Means a Better Chance of Recovery

It is our hope that you never have to experience what it’s like to take Naloxone. The Naloxone side effects are difficult to manage, even though the drug saves your life after an overdose. If you have already overdosed, it may feel as though you don’t have any hope at all. At Northpoint Seattle, we want you to know that there is hope for you.

We offer an IOP program that can provide you with the support you need to recover. You should consider going through drug detox, but our IOP can assist you with the psychological part of your addiction.

This is often the hardest part for most people. With the right guidance and help, you won’t ever find yourself in the position of needing Narcan. Recovery is possible, as long as you know where to turn to get assistance. 

Have you had to have Narcan, Naloxone or Evzio? Do you have questions about opioid addiction recovery? No matter what your questions are, we’d like to help you. Don’t be afraid to reach out to us. Please contact us right away.

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