(CTN News) – As a result of the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the nasal spray Narcan to reverse opioid overdoses without a prescription on Wednesday, the availability of the lifesaving treatment is expected to increase considerably.
As a result of the FDA’s decision, people will be able to purchase the 4 milligram Narcan nasal spray at supermarkets, convenience stores, gas stations, vending machines, and online stores. Emergent BioSolutions, the manufacturer, plans to make Narcan available for purchase without a prescription in late summer.
FDA Commissioner Robert Califf issued a statement encouraging the company to make the Narcan nasal spray available as soon as possible at an affordable price.
As a result of Narcan’s ability to block the effects of opioids on the nervous system, it is possible to reverse fatal overdoses. The use of nasal spray should be administered as soon as it is suspected that an overdose has occurred.
There are typically two nasal spray devices included in a single package. According to the instructions, the person suffering from an overdose should administer the first dose through one nostril and then contact 911. In the event that the person remains unresponsive after two to three minutes, a second dose should be administered.
Following the FDA’s decision, Walgreens will offer Narcan over-the-counter in its stores and online nationwide later this year.
A spokesperson for Walgreens stated, “The company is currently working with suppliers to bring this over-the-counter medication to shelves in order to provide access to this lifesaving medication.”
According to the FDA, it is considering approving naloxone products, which are used to reverse opioid overdoses, for use without a prescription. The agency is fighting the opioid epidemic by making naloxone more accessible.
A public health emergency was declared by the Trump administration in 2017 in response to the opioid epidemic. It has been the policy of the Biden administration to renew the public health emergency every 90 days.
Between 1999 and 2020, more than 564,000 people died from opioid overdoses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. First, prescription opioids contributed to the epidemic in the 1990s, followed by an increase in heroin-related deaths in 2010.
The number of deaths caused by synthetic opioids such as fentanyl has increased significantly since 2013. There were more than 71,000 deaths caused by synthetic opioids in 2021, an increase of 18% over the year prior, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
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