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Supporting Your Practice

Naloxone: What is it & how to use it?


Dr. John O’Keefe explored the use of Naloxone, the reversal agent used in cases of opioids overdose. 


Overdose of opiate, known or suspected
Reversal of opiate activity, Respiratory depression, with therapeutic opioid use
  • Naloxone is used to reverse the effects of opioid medications and is indicated for the reversal of life threatening respiratory depression secondary to opioid overdose. It is also used in combination with other agents as an abuse deterrent.
  • Naloxone is a pure opioid antagonist that competes with and displaces narcotics at all opioid receptor sites.
  • The antagonistic effects of naloxone at opioid receptors may precipitate acute withdrawal symptoms in opioid dependent patients.
  • Naloxone is used in a variety of settings including prehospital care settings, emergency departments, and operating rooms.
  • Naloxone as a single dose nasal spray formulation recently introduced by special permission by Health Canada is very safe. https://www.narcan.com/
  • The adverse effects of naloxone are related to its antagonistic effects to narcotics and the resulting withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms are sympathetic in nature; pain, hypertension, diaphoresis, piloerection, muscle cramping, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and agitation. Pulmonary edema and dysrhythmias, including ventricular fibrillation, have been reported in association with the use of excess naloxone. 
  • In neonates, withdrawal symptoms also include excessive crying, hyperactive reflexes, and convulsions.


Read and Download the Interview Transcript (PDF)


Full Interview (7.58″)


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