Naloxone hydrochloride (Narcan®) is a prescription medication licensed to reverse the effects of opioid medications. It can also help to diagnose a suspected opioid overdose and increase blood pressure in people with septic shock.
This drug is approved for use in adults, children, and infants. It can help reverse respiratory depression and other potentially serious side effects that can occur from an opioid overdose or in cases where high opioid dosages were used, such as during surgery or for relieving cancer pain.
Naloxone works by competing with opioids for opioid receptors. The medication produces no effects when it binds to opioid receptors. However, it prevents other opioid medicines from also binding to the receptors, thus blocking their actions.
(Click What Is Naloxone Used For? for a more in-depth look at the possible benefits of this drug, including information on how it works and how it can help to reverse the effects of opioid medications.)
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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