What is Narcan?
Narcan is the trade name under which the pharmaceutical companies sell naloxone. It is a medication prescribed by the doctor to block the effects of opioid medicines. It is available in the form of both injection and nasal spray. The result of this medication lasts for half an hour to an hour. You can get this medication with or without a proper prescription from a doctor.
What to know before taking Narcan?
You should avoid taking Narcan if you are allergic to it or any of its components or if you have or ever had the following medical issue:
- Addicted to drugs or alcohol
- Heart disease
- Unusual allergic reactions
Expecting women and lactating mothers should not use Narcan, which may be harmful to the newborn or nursing baby.
How to take Narcan?
You should take this medicine exactly as prescribed by the doctor. Please don’t take it more often than recommended. A healthcare provider, an emergency medical provider, or a family member or caregiver trained to provide a Narcan properly can give you this medication. Healthcare providers spray Narcan into the nose of the patient while they are in a comfortable position.
If you are responsible for giving Narcan to the patient, you should carefully read and follow the medicine label’s direction.
It will help if you are sure that you know how to recognize an opioid overdose’s signs in the person you are taking care of:
Overdose symptoms may include:
- shallow breathing problem, or no breathing at all
- small or pinpoint pupils in the eyes
- slow heartbeats
- extreme drowsiness, especially if the patient is unable to wake from sleep.
If the patient is not breathing and is unsure whether there is a case of opioid overdose, you can still give the patient a Narcan injection and then seek medical help.
You should closely monitor the patient, and if you are still observing the overdose symptoms, you can repeat the dose of Narcan until the medical emergency help arrives. You must not assume that the opioid overdose chapter got over even if you observe an improvement in overdose symptoms and seek emergency help after giving Narcan to the patient. You can repeat the Narcan twice or thrice till emergency help arrives.
Keep the medication out of children’s reach and store it at room temperature away from the heat and moisture. After completion of treatment, dispose of the leftover medicine with the help of your pharmacist.
The dosage of Narcan prescribed by the doctor is dependent on several factors, such as :
- The age and weight of the patient
- The seriousness of the condition
- Other medical issues that the patient is having
- Other medications that the patient is using
- How the patient reacted to the first dose of the medication
The doctor may prescribe the dosage of Narcan according to the different medical conditions of the patient. The following are the average dose of Narcan that a doctor can prescribe:
Dosage for adults
Opioid overdose (suspected or known)
The initial dose of 0.4 mg to 2 mg of Narcan, injected through IV. if the patient does not show the desired improvement, the same amount can be repeated by the doctor after a regular interval of 2 to 3 minutes. The maximum amount of Narcan that doctor can prescribe to a patient should not exceed 10 mg.
Postoperative opioid depression
The doctor should determine Narcan’s dose for the patients suffering from postoperative opioid depression as per the patients’ response to the medical examinations. For the initial reversal of respiratory depression, the doctor can prescribe to inject Narcan with an increment of 0.1 mg to 0.2 mg through IV. the doctor can repeat the same dose after an interval of 1 to 2 hours.
Dosage for children
Opioid overdose (known or suspected)
The initial dose of Narcan for children is 0.01 mg/ kg weight of the child through IV. If the situation is not improving, doctors can give a subsequent amount to the child. Doctors can dilute the medicine with sterile water to inject.
Postoperative opioid depression
The doctor should determine Narcan’s dose for the patients suffering from postoperative opioid depression as per the patients’ response to the medical examinations. For the initial reversal of respiratory depression, the doctor can prescribe injecting Narcan with an increment of 0.005 mg to 0.01 mg through IV at regular intervals of 2 to 3 minutes to get the desired result.
Dosage for infants
An initial dose is 0.01 mg/ kg weight of the child through IV. Quantity must be repeated if needed after consulting with the doctor.
There are no specific Narcan overdose symptoms, but if you ever feel uneasy while taking this medication, you can consult your doctor and seek a medical assistant. You can also call the poison helpline number at 1-800-222-1222
What to avoid while using Narcan?
You should avoid taking alcohol after taking Narcan, as the interaction between these two can be dangerous. Taking this medication can impair your thinking process or reaction to that. You must be very careful while driving and doing activities that require alertness.
Narcan side effects
Some of the common side effects of using Narcan are as follows:
- Increased blood pressure
- Muscles spasms
- Pain in the muscles
- Pain in bones
- Dryness in the nose
- Stuffy nose
- Pain in nose
- Dry skin
It is okay to experience mild side effect symptoms, but if these symptoms bother you so much and are unbearable, you should immediately consult your doctor. Some of the patients using Narcan may suffer through a few severe side effects symptoms. In that case, they should consult their doctor and ask for medical help as soon as possible. The following are some severe side effects of using Narcan:
- Allergic reaction to Narcan
- Skin rashes
- Swelling under the skin, especially in eyelids, feet, lips, hands, etc
- Swelling in tongue, throat, or mouth
- Trouble in breathing
- Opioid withdrawal symptoms
Opioid withdrawal symptoms may occur after using Narcan, as it blocks down the effects of opioid medication in the body, and the patient may experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. The following are some opioid withdrawal symptoms:
- Fast heart rate
- Runny nose
- Stomach cramps
- Increased blood pressure
In some cases, Narcan’s side effects can be hazardous, leading to heart rhythm problems and heart attacks.
What drugs can interact with Narcan?
If your doctor is treating you with Narcan, he must be knowing all the possible interactions with other drugs. It is your responsibility to tell the doctor about all the over-the-counter medicines you take or taken in the past few days. There are approximately 29 drugs that can interact with Narcan. Some of the following medications which can interact with Narcan are:
- Vitamin supplement medicines
- Herbal products