What is Narcan (Naloxone)

What is Narcan™ (naloxone)? Narcan™ (naloxone) is an opiate antidote. Opioids include heroin and prescription pain pills like morphine, codeine, oxycodone, methadone and Vicodin. When a person is overdosing on an opioid, breathing can slow down or stop and it can very hard to wake them from this state.

Narcan™ (naloxone) is a prescription medicine that blocks the effects of opioids and reverses an overdose.
It cannot be used to get a person high. If given to a person who has not taken opioids, it will not have any effect on him or her, since there is no opioid overdose to reverse. . 

How does Narcan™ (naloxone) work?   If a person has taken opioids and is then given Narcan™ (naloxone), the opioids will be knocked out of the opiate receptors in the brain. Narcan™ (naloxone) can help even if opioids are taken with alcohol or other drugs. After a dose of  Narcan™ (naloxone), the person should begin to breathe more normally and it will become easier to wake them. It is very important to give help to an overdosing person right away. Brain damage can occur within only a few minutes of an opioid overdose as the result of a lack of oxygen to the brain.

Narcan™ (naloxone) gives concerned helpers a window of opportunity to How is Narcan™ (naloxone) given to an overdosing person?

Narcan™ (naloxone) can be given by intramuscular (IM) injection - into the muscle of the arm, thigh or buttocks - or with a nasal spray device (into the nose).  In Illinois,  Narcan™ (naloxone) is prescribed for use as an IM injection. Nasal spray use is less common, but some large cities in the U.S. use the nasal spray version and it can be prescribed.  

How long does Narcan™ (naloxone) take to work? Narcan™ (naloxone) generally works within about 5 minutes. Repeated doses may be necessary if a person is still showing signs of overdose even after the first dose. 

Can Narcan™ (naloxone) harm a person?   Narcan™ (naloxone) only affects people who are using opioids. If a person is not having an overdose but has been using opioids, Narcan™ (naloxone) will put them into immediate withdrawal. This can be very uncomfortable for the person, but is not life threatening.

Information provided by Overdose Lifeline


How to administer Intramuscular Naloxone Kit

How to administer Intranasal Naloxone Kit

How to administer Evzio Auto Injector