Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between naloxone and Narcan?
Naloxone is not a new medication. It was invented in 1961 and patented in the US in 1966. Then in 1971 the FDA approved naloxone for treatment of opioid overdose by intravenous or intramuscular injection. Naloxone is on the World Health Organization’s list of essential medications. Eventually, in 2015, the intranasal formulation known as Narcan was FDA approved. Narcan is a trade name. There are now other formulations and brand names for naloxone, and many people continue to call these products “Narcan.” However, the proper generic name is “naloxone.”
What is “Saturation?”
We must all support strategic and evidence-based efforts to prevent overdoses from occurring in the first place. However, when an overdose occurs, the likelihood of administering naloxone, reversing that overdose, and saving a life is greatly correlated with having naloxone available and accessible on the scene. This entails naloxone into the hands of people who are most likely to be present and respond to an overdose. At a community level this is known as “saturation.”
Where should I place and distribute Narcan throughout my facility?
The key is to make naloxone accessible, and to ensure that people in the building know the location of naloxone. Nobody should need a key, or passcode, or need to break a lockbox to access naloxone. Every second counts.
If I call 911 during an overdose, could I be arrested?
No! Due to the Good Samaritan Act, individuals are protected against most charges when reporting an overdose situation.
Are fentanyl or "other powerful opioids" resistant to naloxone?
There is no pharmacological evidence that fentanyl or its analogs are pseudo-irreversible or noncompetitive agonists at opioid receptors. The apparent failure for naloxone to reverse an
overdose is more likely to be caused by other factors, such as errors in administration, higher potency fentanyls, high opioid doses, or contamination of a fentanyl with another central
nervous system depressant, such as benzodiazepines. Giving multiple doses may be necessary, and it is okay, but it is important to try and wait 2-3 minutes between doses so as not to precipitate extreme withdrawal symptoms.
Does naloxone access increase and promote opioid use?
No! current studies/evidence do not support a link between naloxone and more or riskier opioid
Can naloxone be administered to all people?
Yes! naloxone is very safe!!
It only has one action, and that is to displace opioids from the mu receptor in our brain and restore respiration. It can be administered to all ages, to those who are pregnant, have heart or kidney disease, or "other health condition."
What if my naloxone is expired?
Studies have shown that naloxone remains viable for several years beyond the expiration date. Even if potency were diminished, administering expired naloxone is safe and justified to save a life.
What if my naloxone was exposed to high temperatures?
Studies have also shown that naloxone remains viable after exposure to extreme temperatures, although potency may be impacted. Always try to store naloxone at room temperature.