Naloxone: Life Saving Drug in Opioid Overdose

Naloxone, commonly known by its brand name Narcan, is an opioid antagonist medication used to counter the effects of opioid overdose and reverses depressed breathing. For many years, it has been used in hospitals and emergency rooms settings to reverse the effects of opioid overdoses. However, in recent years with the opioid crisis getting worse, naloxone has become more widely available to the public. Multiple federal and state programs now provide easy access to naloxone to prevent opioid overdose deaths.

What is an Opioid Overdose?

An opioid overdose occurs when a person uses too much of an opioid drug, either prescription or illicit, and it overwhelms their central nervous and respiratory systems. Common opioids that cause overdose include prescription painkillers like oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, codeine as well as illicit drugs like heroin. When an opioid exceeds the body’s tolerance level, it can slow or stop breathing. Opioid overdose is a leading cause of accidental death across the United States and timely administration of naloxone can reverse its effects.

Coherent Market Insights provides a comprehensive understanding of naloxone in Naloxone Market – what it is, how it works, who needs it and where to access it.

Mechanism of Action of Naloxone

Naloxone works by competing for the same opiate receptors in the brain that opioids activate. However, when bound to these mu-opioid receptors, naloxone does not activate them and effectively reverses and blocks the effects of opioids. This allows the respiratory and central nervous systems to start functioning correctly again. Naloxone only works on the opiate receptors, it does not affect the natural endorphins or hormones in the body. Within 2-5 minutes of administration by injection or nasal spray, naloxone can cause the opioid to begin dissociating from the receptors and reverse an overdose.

Forms and Routes of Administration

Naloxone is available in multiple forms allowing for flexibility in administration during an overdose emergency:

– Injection (vial and prefilled syringe): Intramuscular or subcutaneous injection is the fastest route and allows for higher doses if needed. Requires assembly of equipment.

– Auto-injector: Prefilled device with voice instructions for easy use. Administered intramuscularly into the outer thigh.

– Nasal spray: Formulated for nasal administration which is less invasive than injection. Absorption is almost as rapid as injection.

– Evzio naloxone auto-injector: Prefilled auto-injector with spoken instructions that can be used on adults or children weighing over 33 pounds. Administered intramuscularly or subcutaneously.

Widespread Distribution

With the opioid crisis worsening in recent years, harm reduction efforts have worked to make naloxone more easily accessible to those who need it. Many law enforcement agencies, first responders, shelters and community organizations now carry and train individuals on administering naloxone. Some states have even passed legislation allowing pharmacists to dispense naloxone without a prescription. This has led to more overdoses being reversed as naloxone reaches the friends and family members of opioid users.

Continued Expansion

As opioid overdoses continue to take a devastating human toll across the US, further health policy measures aim to expand access to naloxone even more widely. Some states now require or recommend prescribing naloxone alongside certain opioids with high abuse potential. Certain health insurance plans cover the cost of naloxone as well. Community education raises awareness about recognizing and responding to overdoses. Ongoing research also evaluates new naloxone formulations like implantable devices for prolonged protection.

Market Outlook

As discussed, the global naloxone market is witnessing strong growth due to rising opioid overdose crisis worldwide, particularly in North America. The growing abuse of both licit and illicit opioids has made naloxone a life-saving medication. For more details on the market drivers, trends and region-wise analysis, refer to the comprehensive research report on the naloxone market published by Coherent Market Insights. The report examines factors such as government support and funding for addiction treatment programs, entry of new formulation and collaboration between stakeholders to expand awareness and availability of naloxone. North America currently dominates the global naloxone market owing to concerted efforts to address the opioid epidemic in the region.

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