Tag Archives: naloxone

Single-Step Naloxone Most Effective in Reversing Overdoses

Naloxone Narcan

Addiction professionals and first responders cope with a lot of variables when responding to an overdose, but nothing has changed the outcomes of emergency calls like Naloxone (also known as Narcan), an opioid antagonist drug that has the power to reverse overdoses. There are several versions of Naloxone delivery available. However, research has revealed that the single-step nasal inhaler seems to be most effective at reversing overdoses, according to new research led by faculty at Binghamton University, State University at New York.

In the past few years, expanded access to naloxone has saved thousands of lives by reversing fatal overdoses in people with opioid use disorder. While many people who overdose are not ready for help yet, others identify the moment their overdose occurred as a pivotal point in their life that helped them choose to get into recovery. Law enforcement and other first responders carry the drug on them all the time, especially in places like Ohio where overdoses take place in parking lots and other public spaces.

There is more than one way to administer Naloxone. Injections can be difficult for the untrained person to deliver, but there is often help available for people who choose to carry the drug. Sometimes injections are required multiple times for serious overdoses, and the skill of the person injecting the drug may come into play when it comes to reversing the drug.

William Eggleston, the clinical assistant professor at the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at Binghamton University, wanted to know if everyday people can successfully administer naloxone after basic video training. His research found that for ordinary people who aren’t first responders, the single-step nasal spray was used most successfully with minimal problems.

Eggleston conducted a study to estimate and compare the rate of successful administration and the time to successful administration by community members for single-step nasal spray, multi-step atomized nasal spray, and intramuscular simulated naloxone.

For the study, and over the course of several days, 138 adults with no prior naloxone training were asked to watch a two-minute video teaching them how to administer the drug. For each type of administration, they were asked to the adminster the reversal drug on a dummy.

After the video training, participants were able to administer the single-step nasal spray naloxone with a higher rate of success than the other types. This information is important for community naloxone programs across the United States.

“With training, nasal sprays, in general, had a higher degree of success than the shot,” Eggleston said. “Even if it seemed to us it was a no-brainer that we should be using nasal sprays, we had no data before, so now we have some to support that.”

Many people don’t realize it, but Naloxone has also been used to help people who have overdosed on other drugs such as synthetic marijuana and benzodiazepines.

The cost of the single-step Narcan spray is about $140, making it more cost prohibitive than the injection, which is about $40.

Image courtesy and copyright Adapt Pharma.

Pennsylvania Gets Boost in Addiction Recovery Funding

The Health and Human Services Administration made the announcement that $485,000,000 will be granted towards funding addiction recovery in America’s battle with opioids. The money will be distributed throughout the United States with Pennsylvania getting the fourth largest disbursement. 

Why Pennsylvania?

The disbursement of funds was determined by factoring which states had the most severe problems with addictions and how each state presented their proposals for the grant money. Pennsylvania health administrators were clear in stating that opioid addiction is the number one public health problem in their state.

Reports have indicated that there were more than 3,500 overdoses that led to deaths in the state of Pennsylvania in 2015. This is a 20% increase in deaths from opioids in 2014 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Tom Wolf, Governor of Pennsylvania, estimates this number will go up even higher in 2016 and in 2017 if left unattended. The most common problematic drug in 2015 in Pennsylvania was heroin while the next highest number of overdoses leading to death was by the prescription drug fentanyl. The Governor’s concern for his state has prompted some important initiatives to combat the epidemic. Their efforts are being substantiated by the CDC.

Opioid Crisis of Epidemic Proportions

The CDC has been watching the crisis grow in Pennsylvania. They have noted that from 2014 to 2016 a sharp rise in deaths from overdosing in Pennsylvania. The state is clearly in a crisis and has made some strides in fighting the epidemic through various programs and increasing the availability of drugs. Some of the new programs are listed below:

  • Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP)
  • Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) 

The programs will be embedded to the already existing health care facilities and distribution networks making their implementation more streamline. As well the programs will be available to all economic sectors of Pennsylvania not just in the urban areas as was the common practice for these measures in the past. This tactical and inclusive approach was a key factor in determining Pennsylvania’s  monetary award from the Human Health Services.

A portion of the grant money will still be allocated towards dealing with the the process of “Warm handoffs”. This is the process of identifying an individual’s unique problem with addiction and then directing that individual to the appropriate treatment and recovery specialist. This method has the recommendations of doctors and is very accepted by the professionals who work in addiction recovery.

Government Considers Distribution of Overdose Antidote Naloxone or Narcan

To help stem the tide of overdose deaths from prescription drugs like OxyContin and Vicodin, the U.S. FDA for the first time is considering widespread distribution of a drug that is an antidote for drug overdoses.

Naloxone, which has been available by prescription for nearly two decades, may soon be available as an over-the-counter medication. Sold under the brand name Narcan, naloxone is non-addictive, nontoxic and able to reverse the effects of potentially fatal drug overdoses. In addition to counteracting an overdose from prescription drugs including oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, codeine and fentanyl, naloxone is effective when used with heroin overdoses.

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