Nasal Spray May be Quickest, Easiest Way to Administer Naloxone

Administering the opioid overdose antidote naloxone via nasal spray may be quicker and easier than an injection or nasal atomizer, a new study concludes.

Researchers asked people untrained in administering naloxone to give the drug to a manikin using one of three methods: nasal spray, intramuscular injection, or a nasal atomizer kit that requires assembly of three pieces. All three methods are currently used by naloxone community programs, HealthDay reports.

Study participants were not given instructions in how to administer naloxone. Successful administration was defined as being completed within seven minutes without critical errors. The nasal spray had a median administration time of 16 seconds, followed by the injection, which took closer to a minute, the researchers report in Pharmacotherapy. The nasal atomizer kit was the most difficult to use.

“When someone is not breathing, every second counts,” lead researcher William Eggleston said in a news release. “If naloxone becomes available over the counter, our study highlights the importance of training resources, like pharmacists, public health campaigns and community resources. It also shows that the nasal spray product is the most intuitive to use and easiest to give quickly.”

How to Use Naloxone to Reverse Opioid Overdose and Save Lives

A variety of drugs and drug combinations carry the risk of fatal overdose. Emergency protocol for any suspected overdose includes calling 911. However, in the case of opioids, which includes heroin and prescription pain medications like Vicodin, OxyContin and Percocet, naloxone (also known by the brand name Narcan) can reverse an overdose, potentially saving a loved one’s life.

naloxone