Most Overdose Patients Can Leave ER One Hour After Receiving Naloxone

ER hospital

Most people treated in the emergency room for an opioid overdose can safely leave the hospital in as little as one hour after receiving the opioid overdose antidote naloxone, according to a new study.

Patients can be released in an hour after treatment if their vital signs including their pulse, blood pressure and breathing are within normal ranges, and if they can walk, the study found.

Lead researcher Dr. Brian Clemency of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo, in New York said rules for releasing overdose patients vary among hospitals. Some patients are released immediately, while others are watched for six hours or more, HealthDay reports. His study included 538 patients who arrived by ambulance after receiving naloxone.

Patients’ vital signs were evaluated one hour after they had received naloxone. They were observed for at least four hours before being discharged. The researchers found most adverse events after receiving naloxone were minor and unlikely to be life-threatening.

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