FDA approves generic naloxone spray for opioid overdose treatment


The Food and Drug Administration on April 19 approved the first generic naloxone hydrochloride nasal spray (Narcan) as treatment for stopping or reversing an opioid overdose.

“In the wake of the opioid crisis, a number of efforts are underway to make this emergency overdose reversal treatment more readily available and more accessible,” said Douglas Throckmorton, MD, deputy center director for regulatory programs in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, in a press release. “In addition to this approval of the first generic naloxone nasal spray, moving forward, we will prioritize our review of generic drug applications for naloxone.”

The agency said the naloxone nasal spray does not need assembly and can be used by anyone, regardless of medical training. The drug is administered by spraying naloxone into one nostril while a patient is lying on his or her back and can be repeated. If the spray is administered quickly after the overdose begins, the effect of the opioid will be countered, often within minutes. However, patients should still seek immediate medical attention.

The FDA cautioned that, when used on a patient with an opioid dependence, naloxone can cause severe opioid withdrawal, characterized by symptoms such as body aches, diarrhea, tachycardia, fever, runny nose, sneezing, goose bumps, sweating, yawning, nausea or vomiting, nervousness, restlessness or irritability, shivering or trembling, abdominal cramps, weakness, and increased blood pressure.

Find the full press release on the FDA website.

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