Administering naloxone: is the answer under our noses?


The intranasal (IN) administration of naloxone to treat opioid overdoses offers many benefits over the current, often problematic intravenous and intramuscular routes. Such problems include using sharps around potentially aggressive patients; a high risk of transmitting blood-borne infections and difficulty obtaining intravenous access in injecting drug users. A literature search was undertaken to examine the effectiveness of the IN route of naloxone administration in comparison to these other routes. Research suggests that the IN route is safe to introduce into practice and it is effective: the time taken from ambulance staff arriving at opioid overdose patients to them responding to IN naloxone appears to equal that of the intravenous route. Intranasal naloxone is not yet licensed for use in the UK and this needs to be reviewed. In the future this method of drug administration should result in considerable benefits and improved safety to both ambulance staff and patients, particularly for the treatment of opioid overdoses.

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