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 Narcan
  • 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 opioids.
  • Narcan (naloxone) does not involve any needles. It is a nasal spray that is sprayed into one nostril.
  • Narcan (naloxone) is much easier to use than other similar medicines.
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What to expect from Narcan, on one page

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Downsides

  • Narcan (naloxone) has to be given right away and does not take the place of emergency medical care. Get help right away after the first dose, even if the person wakes up.
  • You might need multiple doses if someone's taken a large amount of opioids.
  • 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 Narcan, 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 Narcan
  • Drug class: Pain
  • Rx status: Prescription only
  • Generic status: Lower-cost generic available (naloxone)

Used for

  • Opioid overdose

Dosage forms

  • Nasal spray
Tried Narcan? Write a review!

Prices and coupons

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

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  • Effectiveness
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  • Possible side effects
  • Agitation
  • Body pain
  • Fast heart rate / blood pressure
  • Toothache
  • Constipation
  • Nasal symptoms
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Side effect rates for Narcan (naloxone)

From 30 clinical trials of Narcan when taken for opioid overdose (1 spray in 1 nostril or 2 sprays in each nostril)

Risks and Warnings for Narcan (naloxone)

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    • Higher risk if:
    • Regular use of opioids

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