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Naloxone Nasal Spray Effective As Injection For Opioid Overdose

Naloxone via intranasal as effective as an injection for reversing opioid overdose, study finds.

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Credit: Medill

Naloxone, an opioid receptor antagonist, has been a go-to drug for reversing overdoses caused by opioids such as tramadol, fentanyl or hydrocodone. The drug is usually administered through intramuscular injection; however, researchers may have found a more efficacious alternative.

According to a study, published in the journal Addiction, an intranasal spray of naloxone, at a dose of 2 mg, can be as effective as a traditional 0.4 mg naloxone intramuscular injection.

Researchers tested 38 healthy participants using the nasal naloxone at various doses: 1 mg, 2 mg, and 4 mg compared to intravenous and intramuscular doses at 0.4 mg.

The blood plasma concentrations of naloxone were examined in all participants, a total of nineteen times per participant. Researchers focused on the first 15 minutes after dosing, which is the most critical time for treatment.

“Regular blood samples were taken, with high-frequency sampling during the first 15 minutes to capture early systemic exposure. PK parameters were determined from plasma naloxone concentrations. Exploratory analyses involved simulation of repeat administration,” the study reads.

During the study, researchers noticed that all intranasally administered dosage forms ― 1 mg, 2 mg, and 4 mg ― were absorbed without complications or severe adverse reactions. However, the 2 mg dose was the closest to a 0.4 mg intramuscular dose, in regards to efficiency, based on the results.

The findings also showed that the intranasal form of naloxone can maintain blood levels of the drug more than twice as high for two hours, compared to the 0.4 mg intramuscular dose.

“We are very pleased that concentrated nasal naloxone formulations are now receiving regulatory approval and believe that they will help widen the provision of take-home naloxone and thereby save lives,” researchers concluded.

Jose Florez is the founder and editor of Mental Daily. His work has appeared in Psychology Today, Glamour, HuffPost, among others. He is a mental health advocate, and currently studying psychology.

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