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News From the Food and Drug Administration
January 5, 2016

Nasal Spray to Stop Overdose

Author Affiliations

Copyright 2016 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.

JAMA. 2016;315(1):20. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.17505

Responding to appeals from addiction and advocacy groups, the FDA has approved a nasal spray version of naloxone hydrochloride, which can stop or reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.

Naloxone previously had been available only in injectable forms. But first responders and others had asked for a formulation that would be easier to administer and that avoided the risk of a contaminated needle stick. The FDA said use of unapproved kits combining the injectable form with an atomizer as a makeshift nasal spray had become widespread. If given quickly, naloxone can counter the overdose effects of prescription opioids and the illegal drug heroin within 2 minutes.