Intranasal Naloxone Easy to Use for Bystanders

Even adolescents were able to administer naloxone HCl (Narcan) nasal spray in an emergency situation.

The results from 2 human factors studies suggest that administering naloxone HCl (Narcan) nasal spray can successfully prevent opioid overdose in an emergency setting, according to a presentation at the International Conference on Opioids.

The studies were conducted as a part of the FDA approval process for the nasal spray.

"The study demonstrated that ready-to-use, intranasal naloxone can be used by a layperson to administer this drug to those experiencing an opioid-related overdose," said lead author Melissa Beck, BA.

The investigators reported that without any instruction or training, individuals can properly deploy the intranasal naloxone during a simulated emergency. Importantly, the study included adults and adolescents at normal and low literacy levels, meaning that the product can be used correctly by a wide range of individuals.

The findings from the study also showed an understanding of the key factors presented in the patient's information, regardless of age or literacy, according to the session.

The authors concluded that naloxone HCl nasal spray can be administered by bystanders with no previous training or in-depth review of the instructions.

However, the investigators caution that the goal of the study was to determine the ease of use of naloxone nasal spray and it is recommended that individuals have a complete understanding of patient information and instructions prior to using the product, according to the session.

Naloxone HCl nasal spray is the only approved nasal spray to treat opioid overdoses evident by respiratory and/or central nervous system depression. The 4-mg dose of naloxone HCl nasal spray was launched in February 2016 and was approved as a 2-mg formulation on January 25, 2017.

The 2-mg formulation received approval for use in opioid-dependent patients expected to be at risk for severe opioid withdrawal in situations where there is a low risk for accidental or intentional opioid exposure.

While the nasal spray can reverse an overdose, it cannot be a substitute for medical treatment and patients should seek medical assistance immediately after the first dose of naloxone HCl nasal spray, according to the Adapt Pharma, the drug’s manufacturer.

"As the opioid epidemic evolves, we are seeing a growing need to prepare and equip all populations with tools to help their loved ones, neighbors and community members," said Mike Kelly, president, US Operations, Adapt Pharma. "This study offers additional insight into how community members can utilize Narcan Nasal Spray for the treatment of a known or suspected opioid overdose while waiting for emergency help to arrive."