Narcan is a nasal spray available at pharmacies across America. The nasal spray is designed to provide emergency care for an opioid overdose and reduce the risk of death.
What Is Narcan?
Narcan is a nasal spray that delivers a concentrated 4mg dose of naloxone directly to your nasal passageways. The nasal spray is designed to reduce the risk of an opioid overdose. If you or a family member has suffered an opioid overdose, then Narcan is a potentially life-saving treatment.
The spray is available via prescription across America. It’s a naloxone HCl nasal spray. Today, it’s the first and only FDA-approved nasal form of naloxone for the emergency treatment of a known or suspected opioid overdose.
Narcan is made by a pharmaceutical company named ADAPT Pharma. If you suspect a loved one has suffered an opioid overdose, then you can place the Narcan single-use spray in their nose, then press the plunger to deliver a concentrated dose of naloxone directly to their system.
Today, Narcan is covered by 90% of medical insurance plans across America.
How Does Narcan Work?
Naloxone is one of the most effective ways to reduce the fatal risk of an opioid overdose. With Narcan, naloxone HCl is delivered in the form of a nasal spray. The active ingredient enters your body through your nasal passageways, allowing it to go to work as quickly as possible.
The formula counteracts the life-threatening effects of opioid overdose. Most accidental opioid overdoses occur in a home setting. With that in mind, Narcan was developed as a convenient, broadly available, affordable solution for those who need it most – including first responders or the friends, family, and caregivers of an opioid user.
Narcan isn’t designed to be a “cure” for an opioid overdose. Instead, it’s designed to be a “first response” type solution. The makers of Narcan recommend getting help immediately. Even if the nasal spray causes the person to wake up, they may still relapse into respiratory depression. That’s why you should use the spray, call 911, then monitor the individual.
Who’s At Risk Of An Opioid Overdose?
Anyone exposed to prescription or illegal opioids should be aware of risk factors that may lead to an accidental, life-threatening, or deadly opioid overdose.
Certain drug users are at a higher risk of an opioid overdose, including those who take prescription opioids (like Percocet or OxyContin). The higher your dose, the higher your risk. That risk increases when you take the opioids in combination with other substances – like alcohol or sleep medications (like benzodiazepines, including Ativan, Xanax, or Valium).
The risk of overdose is increased for those who have medical conditions like depression, lung/liver disease, and anyone who injects opioids directly into their bloodstream (as is the case with heroin or fentanyl).
How To Get Narcan Nasal Spray
Narcan is a prescription product.
However, in certain states, you can purchase Narcan directly from a pharmacist without an individualized prescription. You can find more details about the rules and restrictions for your state here.
ADAPT Pharma, according to the official website, is committed to making Narcan “affordable and accessible to everyone”. With that goal in mind, the company has entered into partnerships with wholesalers, distributors, and retail pharmacies “to ensure broad-based availability”.
Those agreements have been made with Pharmacy Benefits Managers, insurance companies (including Medicaid), and other major organizations.
Ultimately, all of those deals mean that Narcan is covered by more than 90% of insurance plans across America.
If you’re purchasing Narcan for a first responder organization (EMS, Fire Department, or Police), then the Narcan website has more information about bulk purchasing plans here.
How To Use Narcan Nasal Spray
Using Narcan correctly could be the difference between life and death. The first step before using Narcan is to learn to recognize the symptoms of an opioid overdose. Taking prompt action could be the difference between the life and death of a loved one.
If you suspect an opioid overdose, administer Narcan immediately, then call for emergency assistance (911). Here’s how to use Narcan:
- Peel: Peel back the package to remove the device. Hold the device with your thumb on the bottom of the plunger and two fingers on the nozzle.
- Place: Place and hold the tip of the nozzle in either nostril until your fingers touch the bottom of the patients nose.
- Press: Press the plunger firmly to release the dose into the patient’s nose.
Then, once you’ve done that, call 911 or emergency assistance. ADAPT Pharma has extensive information about learning to spot opioid overdose symptoms on their official website, including a video of the Narcan device in action.
Talk to your doctor to find out if Narcan is right for you or a loved one.