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  • Generic Name: (naloxone hydrochloride)
    Other Brands: N/A
  • Last Revised: 08/2016
    • What is this medication and its most common uses?

      Narcan is a medicine used for the emergency treatment of known or suspected overdose of an opioid (narcotic) medicine, with signs of breathing problems and severe sleeping or not being able to respond. Narcan is available as a nasal spray.

    • What should I know when beginning and continuing on this medication?

      How does this medication work?

      Narcan works by blocking the effects of opioid medicines.

      Narcan should be used as soon as possible, and does not take the place of emergency medical care.

      What are the beneficial effects of this medication and when should I begin to have results?

      What: By blocking the effects of opioid medicines in the body, Narcan may help relieve dangerous symptoms.

      When: Everyone responds differently to treatment, so try to be patient and follow your healthcare provider's instructions. It is important to use Narcan exactly as your healthcare provider has prescribed.

      How do I know it is working?

      Narcan should help the patient respond by waking up, and may help the patient breathe normally. Get emergency medical help right away after giving the first dose of Narcan, even if the person wakes up.

    • What are the possible side effects of this medication?

      The following is not a full list of side effects. Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Only your healthcare provider can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this medication.

      More common side effects may include: high blood pressure, muscle or bone pain, headache, nasal dryness, nasal swelling, stuffy nose.

      Less common side effects may include:

      Opioid withdrawal, with symptoms such as body aches, diarrhea, increased heart rate, fever, runny nose, sneezing, goosebumps, sweating, yawning, nausea or vomiting, nervousness, restlessness or irritability, shivering or trembling, stomach cramping, weakness, or increased blood pressure.

    • Who should not take this medication?

      Do not use Narcan if you are allergic to it or any of its ingredients.

    • What should I tell my healthcare provider before I take the first dose of this medication?

      Tell your healthcare provider about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Narcan. Also, talk to your healthcare provider about your complete medical history, especially if you have heart problems, or if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

    • What is the usual dosage?

      The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your healthcare provider uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your healthcare provider may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your healthcare provider's approval.

      Adults and children: The recommended starting dose is 1 spray into one nostril. If the signs and symptoms of an opioid emergency return after the first dose, give another dose of Narcan in the other nostril after 2 to 3 minutes using a new nasal spray and watch the person closely until emergency help is received.

    • How should I take this medication?

      Use Narcan exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider.

      Family members, caregivers, or other people who may have to use Narcan in an opioid emergency should know where it is stored and how to give the medicine before an opioid emergency happens.

      Lay the person on their back. Support their neck with your hand and allow the head to tilt back before giving Narcan.

      Use Narcan right away if you or your caregiver thinks signs or symptoms of an opioid emergency are present, even if you are not sure, because an opioid emergency can cause severe injury or death. Signs and symptoms of an opioid emergency may include unusual sleepiness and you are not able to awaken the person with a loud voice or by rubbing firmly on the middle of their chest; breathing problems including slow or shallow breathing in someone difficult to awaken or who looks like they are not breathing; or the black circle in the center of the pupil (colored part of the eye) is very small, sometimes called pinpoint pupils, in someone difficult to awaken.

      Get emergency medical help right away after giving the first dose of Narcan. Rescue breathing or CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) may be given while waiting for emergency medical help.

      If additional doses are needed, give Narcan in the other nostril.

      Be sure to have your family member, caregiver, or whoever may have to use Narcan review the instructions that came with your prescription before you start using Narcan.

    • What should I avoid while taking this medication?

      Do not attempt to reuse Narcan nasal spray. Each nasal spray contains only one dose of medicine and cannot be reused.

    • What are the possible food and drug interactions associated with this medication?

      No significant interactions have been reported with Narcan at this time. However, always tell your healthcare provider about any medicines you take, including over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

    • May I receive this medication if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

      Using Narcan during pregnancy may cause withdrawal symptoms in your unborn baby. The effects of Narcan during breastfeeding are unknown. Tell your healthcare provider immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

    • What should I do if I miss a dose of this medication?

      Narcan should be given only as needed.

    • How should I store this medication?

      Store at room temperature. Do not freeze.

      Keep Narcan in its box until ready to use, to protect it from light.

    • Who should I contact in case of emergency or overdose?
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      In the event of a medical emergency call your doctor or 9-1-1 immediately. In the event of overdose, call your doctor or poison control for further instructions.
      National Poison Control#: Call 1-800-222-1222

      This PDR+ drug information has been developed by the Physicians’ Desk Reference Network (PDRN), a source of medication information trusted by doctors for over 65 years.

      This monograph summarizes the most important information about your medication and does not cover all the information you may need. If you have any questions or concerns or want to learn more about your medication, ask your healthcare provider; he/she will be able to provide answers to your questions. This medication should only be used by the patient for whom it was prescribed and should not be shared with other people.
    • Additional patient resources.
      back to top Use your PDR® Pharmacy Discount Card when you or a family member fills a prescription and ask for your PDR® Discount every
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