We've put together some commonly asked questions to give you more information about NARCAN® Nasal Spray as well as some general opioid emergency education.
Usage and Administration
What is NARCAN® Nasal Spray?
NARCAN® Nasal Spray was designed to rapidly reverse the effects of a life-threatening opioid emergency. It is used to revive someone during an overdose from many prescription pain medications or street drugs such as heroin and is available as an over-the-counter treatment.
How does NARCAN® Nasal Spray work?
Naloxone, the active ingredient in NARCAN® Nasal Spray, competes with opioids to bind with the same receptors in the brain, reversing the effects of an opioid overdose in 2 to 3 minutes. This allows time for emergency medical help to arrive.
Call 911 immediately after giving the first dose of NARCAN® Nasal Spray in any cases of known or suspected overdose. NARCAN® Nasal Spray is not a substitute for emergency medical care. Use as directed.
Does NARCAN® Nasal Spray work if someone is not breathing?
A person does not need to be breathing for NARCAN® Nasal Spray to work. NARCAN® Nasal Spray is sprayed in the nose and the medicine is absorbed there (by the nasal mucosa). It does not need to be inhaled (breathed in by the lungs) for the medicine to work.
How do you administer NARCAN® Nasal Spray?
Follow the steps listed in the Directions for Use.
Step 1: Check if you suspect an overdose:
- CHECK for a suspected overdose: the person will not wake up or is very sleepy or not breathing well
- yell “Wake up!”
- shake the person gently
- if the person is not awake, go to Step 2
Step 2: Give 1st dose in the nose
- HOLD the nasal spray devise with your thumb on the bottom of the plunger
- INSERT the nozzle into either NOSTRIL
- PRESS the plunger firmly to give the 1t dose
- 1 nasal spray device contains 1 dose
Step 3: Call 911
- Call 911 immediately after giving the 1st dose.
Step 4: Watch & Give
- WAIT 2-3 minutes after the 1st dose to give the medicine time to work
- if the person wakes up: Go to Step 5
- if the person does not wake up:
- Continue to give doses 2-3 minutes until the person wakes up
- it is safe to keep giving doses
Step 5: Stay
- STAY until ambulance arrives: even if the person wakes up
- GIVE another dose if the person becomes very sleepy again
- You may need to give all the dose in the pack
Before I use NARCAN® Nasal Spray, do I need training? Do I need to assemble NARCAN® Nasal Spray or measure the medicine?
No special training, measuring or assembly is required to use NARCAN® Nasal Spray. NARCAN® Nasal Spray is a ready-to-use device containing a single 4 mg dose of naloxone HCI.
Watch this video to learn how to administer NARCAN® Nasal Spray.
NARCAN® Nasal Spray should be used when there is a suspected opioid overdose emergency, in accordance with the Directions included in the package. Members of the household should be familiar with these instructions to administer NARCAN® Nasal Spray properly. Use as directed.
Can I give myself NARCAN® Nasal Spray?
No, NARCAN® Nasal Spray is not a self-administrated medicine. If you have NARCAN® Nasal Spray, it’s important to tell family, roommates, caregivers, friends, and others around you where you keep NARCAN® Nasal Spray and how and when to use it.
Can I reuse a single device of NARCAN® Nasal Spray?
No, you cannot reuse NARCAN® Nasal Spray. Each device contains one dose of medicine. The device is intended to be sprayed once, in a nostril, and then discarded. Do not test before use.
What are the ingredients in NARCAN® Nasal Spray?
Active ingredient: naloxone hydrochloride
Inactive ingredients: benzalkonium chloride (preservative), disodium ethylenediaminetetraacetate (stabilizer), sodium chloride, hydrochloric acid to adjust pH, and sterile water.
NARCAN® Nasal Spray is not made with natural rubber latex.
How do I store NARCAN® Nasal Spray?
Store at room temperature or refrigerate, between 36°F to 77°F (2°C to 25°C)
- Do not freeze
- Avoid excessive heat above 104°F (40°C)
- Protect from light
Impact and Effect
Can you overdose on NARCAN® Nasal Spray?
No. It is safe to keep giving doses every two to three minutes until the person wakes up or emergency personnel arrive.
What are the possible side effects or warnings when using NARCAN® Nasal Spray?
When using NARCAN® Nasal Spray some people may experience symptoms when they wake up, such as shaking, sweating, nausea or feeling anger. This is to be expected.
How long does NARCAN® Nasal Spray stay in your system?
NARCAN® Nasal Spray usually starts working within a few minutes and lasts from 60 to 120 minutes. More than one dose of NARCAN® Nasal Spray may be needed, this is why getting immediate medical care is critical.
How to Find and Buy
Do I need a prescription to buy NARCAN® Nasal Spray?
NARCAN® Nasal Spray is now available online and on shelves at your local pharmacies and retailers without a prescription.
Where can I buy NARCAN® Nasal Spray?
NARCAN® Nasal Spray is available at your local pharmacies and retailers, both online and in stores.
WHERE TO BUY NARCAN® NASAL SPRAY NEAR ME
What are common opioids?
Opioids can be used to treat pain and may be prescribed by your doctor, often after an injury or surgery. There are opioids that are more common in illicit or street drug use. Some common opioids are morphine, codeine, OxyContin (oxycodone), Tramadol, buprenorphine, methadone, Vicodin (hydrocodone), heroin, and fentanyl.
What is an opioid overdose?
An opioid overdose occurs when a person takes too many opioids, such as prescription painkillers. Opioids act on specific receptors in the brain and spinal cord to reduce pain and produce feelings of euphoria. However, taking a high dose or combining opioids with other substances can lead to overdose, which can be life-threatening. An overdose can happen whether the drugs are taken intentionally or by accident.
What are the signs to recognize an opioid emergency?
The signs and symptoms of an opioid overdose emergency may include (but are not limited to):
- Slow, shallow or absent breathing
- Extreme drowsiness or unresponsiveness: The person may be difficult to wake up or may not respond to stimuli.
- Pinpoint pupils: The person's pupils (the dark circle in the center of the eye) may appear very small
- Bluish tint to the lips and nails: Lack of oxygen can cause bluish discoloration in these areas
- Slow or weak pulse: The heart rate may be slow or irregular.
Prescription NARCAN® Nasal Spray Information
Where I can find prescription NARCAN® Nasal Spray information?
The prescribing information for prescription NARCAN® Nasal Spray can be found here.