Naloxone hydrochloride is a drug that can reverse opioid overdose. It can also be used to treat respiratory depression during pain management or after an anesthetic. It works by blocking opioid drugs, such as heroin and methadone, from attaching to opioid receptors in the brain.

How is it used?

Naloxone can be injected intravenously (into a vein) or intramuscularly (into a muscle) by medical professionals, such as paramedics. It can also be administered by family and friends of people who use opiates. Speak with your doctor for more information. It can also be taken as a nasal spray; however, naloxone nasal spray is not registered for use in Ireland at this time.

Naloxone Side Effects & Overdose

The following side effects may be experienced:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Wheezy breathing
  • Chest tightness
  • Intense rash with itching
  • High blood pressure
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Seizures
  • Acute allergic reaction with swelling of the face, lips, tongue and throat

Naloxone and Opioid Overdose

People who have been revived with naloxone after overdosing on opioids may experience a strong urge to take more opioid drugs, especially if they are addicted. Taking opioid drugs after naloxone is very dangerous. Naloxone only stays in the body for a short period of time (1 to 1.5 hours) whereas heroin and other opioid drugs stay in the body for much longer.