Naloxone facts and formulations

Naloxone, known commonly by the brand name NARCAN®, can be administered via nasal spray and via intramuscular injection

Facts about Naloxone

  • In March 1961, Dr. Jack Fishman and Dr. Mozes Lewenstein applied for one of the first patents for naloxone. In 1971, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved using naloxone to treat overdoses.
  • Paramedics and hospitals have been using naloxone to reverse opioid overdoses for decades
  • Naloxone is safe, easy to administer, has no side effects and has no potential for abuse
  • Naloxone can be administered intramuscularly (IM), intravenously (IV), and intranasally (IN)
  • Naloxone has a shelf life ranging from one year to eighteen months, depending on the formulation
  • Naloxone rescue kits from the pharmacy range in cost depending on insurance coverage
  • Naloxone is highly effective at reversing opioid overdoses

The different ways Naloxone can be administered

Chart showing the different ways Naloxone can be administered.

For more detailed information about formulations, visit Prescribe to Prevent.

There are two products currently being used for nasal spray administration:

  • The first product is the Adapt Pharmaceuticals 4 mg / .1 ml  NARCAN® Nasal Spray.
  • The second product is produced by Amphastar Pharmaceuticals and is a Luer-Jet Luer Lock Prefilled Syringe of 2 mg/ 2ml naloxone hydrochloride. This is a generic formulation. This device is paired with a LMA MAD Nasal atomizer device. There is an assembly process required. During assembly, the atomizer is attached to the Luer Lock device. This allows for the intra-nasal administration of the 2 mg/2 ml naloxone hydrochloride.

Other formulations of naloxone that you may find at your local pharmacy include:

  • EVZIO is a hand-held, single-use auto-injector of .4 mg of naloxone. EVZIO is easy to administer with visual and voice instructions for guidance. EVZIO is compact in size and features a retractable needle system that helps prevent accidental needle exposure.
  • There are a number of generic products for intramuscular injection of naloxone. 
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