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What Is Naloxone Used For?

How Does This Medicine Work?

It is not completely known how naloxone works. The drug is thought to work by competing with opioids for opioid receptors. Naloxone produces no effects when it binds to opioid receptors. However, it prevents other opioid medicines from also binding to the receptors, thus blocking the actions of these other medicines.
 
There are several types of opioid receptors located throughout the body. Naloxone is thought to bind to mu, kappa, and sigma opioid receptors, but has its greatest effects at mu receptors.
 
The effects of naloxone may be shorter than those of some opioids. This means, in some cases, the drug may need to be given in repeated doses until the opioid medicine is no longer active in the body.
 

Can Children Use It?

Naloxone is approved to reverse the effects of opioids in children and infants, including newborn babies. It is not approved for treating septic shock in children or newborns, as it has not been adequately studied for this use in children and may not be safe. Talk to your child's healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of using this medication in children.
 

Is It Safe for Older Adults to Use Naloxone?

Yes, older adults can use naloxone. However, there were not enough older adults in clinical studies to determine if they would respond to the medicine any differently than younger age groups. In general, older adults should be treated with lower initial doses.
 

What About Off-Label Naloxone Uses?

On occasion, your healthcare provider may recommend this medicine for something other than the conditions discussed in this article. This is known as an "off-label" use. Naloxone may be used off-label as a nasal spray for treating an opioid overdose. This drug may also be used off-label to treat itching or constipation caused by opioids.
 
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Naloxone Drug Information

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