The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first nasal spray version of naloxone Wednesday as an emergency life-saving treatment for opioid overdose.
The nasal spray can be used on both children and adults and can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. Also known as Narcan, naloxone was previously approved in injectable forms, which posed a risk due to contaminated needles.
The new nasal version not only eliminates that risk but also can be easily administered by anyone and delivers consistently adequate levels of the medication. After administering the spray, individuals are urged to seek additional medical care.
Narcan was fast-tracked and given priority review by the FDA.
“Combating the opioid abuse epidemic is a top priority for the FDA,” Acting FDA Commissioner Stephen Ostroff said. “We cannot stand by while Americans are dying. While naloxone will not solve the underlying problems of the opioid epidemic, we are speeding to review new formulations that will ultimately save lives that might otherwise be lost to drug addiction and overdose.”
The CDC reports that 44 individuals in the United States die from prescription drug overdoses every day with even more becoming addicted to the painkillers. Opioids, such as oxycodone and morphine, are prescription drugs used to treat pain.