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.
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 cannot be used to get high, so it has no potential for misuse. There is no evidence that extended use of naloxone can cause harmful physical effects or dependence. People who take naloxone do not develop a tolerance to its effects and there have been no reported deaths from naloxone 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.