Naloxone to Reverse Overdose

What is naloxone?

Naloxone blocks or reverses the effects of opioid medication, including extreme drowsiness, slowed breathing, or loss of consciousness. An opioid is sometimes called a narcotic. Naloxone is used to treat a narcotic overdose in an emergency situation. This medicine should not be used in place of emergency medical care for an overdose. Naloxone is also used to help diagnose whether a person has used an overdose of an opioid.

How is naloxone given?

Naloxone is injected into a muscle, under the skin, or into a vein through an IV. The injection may be given by a healthcare provider, emergency medical provider, or a family member or caregiver who is trained to properly give a naloxone injection. If you are a caregiver or family member giving a naloxone injection, read all instructions when you first get this medicine. If provided, use the "trainer" device to practice giving an injection so you will know how to do it in an emergency. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions. Be sure you know how to recognize the signs of an opioid overdose in the person you are caring for. Overdose symptoms may include:

  • Slowed breathing, or no breathing
  • Very small or pinpoint pupils in the eyes
  • Slow heartbeats
  • Extreme drowsiness, especially if you are unable to wake the person from sleep.
Even if you are not sure an opioid overdose has occurred, if the person is not breathing or is unresponsive, give the naloxone injection right away and then seek emergency medical care. Do not assume that an overdose episode has ended if symptoms improve. You must get emergency help after giving a naloxone injection.

Naloxone injected into a muscle is given in the outer thigh. In an emergency, you may give an injection through the person's clothing. After injecting naloxone, stay with the person and watch for continued signs of overdose. You may need to give another injection every 2 to 3 minutes until emergency help arrives. Follow all medication instructions carefully.

Each Evzio auto-injector is for one use only. Throw away after one use, even if there is still some medicine left in it after injecting a dose. Store naloxone at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Keep the auto-injector in its outer case until you are ready to use it. Do not use the medicine if it has changed colors or has particles in it. Call your pharmacist for new medication.