NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Two committees that advise the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have unanimously recommended that Narcan, the overdose-reversing nasal spray should be available over the counter.
If the FDA approves the recommendation, it represents a significant step in the effort to stem the tide in the avalanche of drug fatalities.
The overdose epidemic kills more than 100,000 people annually. Michael White is a researcher,
clinician and educator with the UConn School of Pharmacy. He said that over-the-counter availability for Narcanor some people know by it’s generic name, naloxone is what the U.S. needs given the acute opioid crisis.
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People are not only addicted to regular opioids but also fentanyl because it is being found in the products people are taking.
White suggested that there be a public health component to make sure people know how to use Narcan.
“That it comes with two different doses. And one of the reasons it comes with two different doses is that when you push the first dose in the first one into the person’s nose, and lets say the person has a dramatic turnabout, right? And they come back from barely breathing or not breathing. The half-life of naloxone is actually pretty short in comparison to how long the opioids can remain in your system,” White said.
White said when you open up the product you need to call 911 and that you might have to administer that second dose 5 or ten minutes later.
“Therefore, one of the problems he said is that you might declare success and then you leave the person… You come back a few hours later and the person is dead,” White said.