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Naloxone is approved to reverse the effects of opioids. It can also be used to help increase blood pressure in people with septic shock. This medication comes as a liquid that is injected in a vein, muscle, or under the skin. Although most people tolerate it well, side effects are possible and include sweating, nausea, and vomiting.


What Is Naloxone?

Naloxone hydrochloride (Narcan®) is a prescription medication known as a narcotic antagonist. It is approved for the following uses:
  • Reversing the effects of opioids, such as in cases of an opioid overdose or after surgery
  • Diagnosing a suspected opioid overdose
  • Helping to increase blood pressure in people with septic shock (life-threatening low blood pressure that results from a serious infection in the blood). 
(Click What Is Naloxone Used For? for more information on this topic, including possible off-label uses.)

Are There Side Effects?

As with any medicine, naloxone can cause side effects. However, not everyone who uses the medication will experience problems. Most people tolerate it quite well.
If side effects do occur, in most cases, they are minor and either require no treatment or are treated easily by you or your healthcare provider. Serious reactions are less common.
Some of the possible side effects seen with naloxone include:
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Increased heart rate (tachycardia).  
(Click Naloxone Side Effects to learn more, including potentially serious side effects you should report immediately to your healthcare provider.)
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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