Narcan

(naloxone)

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Helps people breathe during an opioid overdose.

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Our bottom line

Narcan (naloxone) is used in an emergency if you think someone has overdosed on opioids. It only works for a few minutes and you'll need to call for emergency help.

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Quick facts about naloxone
  • Drug class: pain
  • Rx status: Prescription only
  • Generic status: Lower-cost generic available (naloxone)

Upsides

  • Can help save the life of someone who has overdosed on opioid drugs.
  • One brand of Narcan (naloxone) comes as a take-home auto-injection system with voice directions that talk you through giving Narcan (naloxone) in an emergency situation.
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What to expect from naloxone, on one page

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Downsides

  • Narcan (naloxone) is to be given right away and does not take the place of emergency medical care. Get emergency medical help right away after the first dose, even if the person wakes up.
  • Repeat dosing of Narcan (naloxone) may be required in some cases where the opioid hangs around in the body for a long time.
  • Narcan (naloxone) can cause acute withdrawal symptoms (body aches, anxiety, sweating, vomiting, fast breathing, shivering) if the person has been using opioids regularly.
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What to expect from naloxone, on one page

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How it works

Narcan (naloxone) works by reversing the action of opioids. People who overdose on opioids can have problems breathing.

Quick facts about naloxone
  • Drug class: pain
  • Rx status: Prescription only
  • Generic status: Lower-cost generic available (naloxone)

Used for

  • Opioid overdose

Dosage forms

  • Injection
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Prices and coupons

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What to expect when you take Narcan (naloxone) for Opioid overdose

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  • Effectiveness
  • Full effects
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  • Possible side effects
  • Agitation
  • Body pain
  • Fast heart rate / blood pressure
  • Shivering
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Stomach cramps
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Side effect rates for Narcan (naloxone)

Risks and Warnings for Narcan (naloxone)

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    • Higher risk if:
    • Regular use of opioids

    Narcan (naloxone) can cause an acute opioid withdrawal or unmask pain in those who regularly take opioids. Symptoms include pain, fast heart beat, sweating, irritability, and vomiting.