Brand Name(s):

  • Narcan®

Other Name(s):

  • N-Allylnoroxymorphone Hydrochloride

WHY is this medicine prescribed?

Naloxone injection is used to prevent or reverse the effects of opiate (narcotic) overdose, including difficulty breathing, sleepiness, low blood pressure, and death. Naloxone injection is also used after surgery to reverse the effects of opiates given during surgery. Naloxone injection is given to newborns to decrease the effects of opiates received by the pregnant mother prior to delivery. Naloxone injection is also used to diagnose a suspected opiate overdose and to increase low blood pressure associated with septic shock (life-threatening infection). Naloxone injection is in a class of medications called opiate antagonists. It works by blocking the central nervous system effects of several types of opiate medications such as morphine, oxycodone, methadone or illegal substances such as heroin.

HOW should this medicine be used?

Naloxone injection comes as a solution (liquid) to inject intravenously (into a vein), intramuscularly (into a muscle), or subcutaneously (just under the skin). Naloxone injection may also sometimes be given intranasally (sprayed into the nose) using a special nasal spray device. It is usually given by intravenous injection for emergencies and to infants and children. Naloxone injection is usually injected as needed by healthcare professionals.

Some community overdose prevention programs provide emergency opiate overdose education and a take-home supply of naloxone for people who may abuse opiate medications and their family members, friends, or caregivers to use in case of an opiate overdose. If you, your family, a friend, or a caregiver has been trained in giving naloxone as an injection or as a nasal spray, follow the instructions carefully if you think an opiate overdose has happened. It is important to call 911 and get immediate emergency medical care for the person following use of naloxone.

Are there OTHER USES for this medicine?

This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

What SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS should I follow?

Before using naloxone injection,

  • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to naloxone injection, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in naloxone injection. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
  • tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention buprenorphine (Subutex).
  • tell your doctor if you have or have ever had heart, kidney, or liver disease.
  • tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding.
  • you should know that naloxone injection may cause withdrawal symptoms if you regularly take opiate medications. These symptoms may include: body aches, diarrhea, fast heart beat, fever, runny nose, sneezing, sweating, yawning, nausea, vomiting, nervousness, restlessness, irritability, shivering or trembling, stomach cramps, weakness, and the appearance of hair on the skin standing on end. Newborns may also have excessive crying, hyperactive reflexes, or seizures.

What SIDE EFFECTS can this medicine cause?

Naloxone injection may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

  • pain, burning, or redness at the injection site
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • uncontrollable shaking of a part of your body
  • pain, burning, numbness, or tingling in the hands or feet
  • sweating
  • hot flashes or flushing

Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately or get emergency medical treatment:

  • rapid, pounding, or irregular heart beat
  • chest pain
  • shortness of breath
  • difficulty breathing or wheezing
  • seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist (hallucination)
  • loss of consciousness
  • seizures

Naloxone injection may cause other side effects. Tell your doctor if you have any unusual problems while receiving this medication.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at Web Site] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].

What should I know about STORAGE and DISPOSAL of this medication?

Store it at room temperature and away from light. Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.

What OTHER INFORMATION should I know?

Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about naloxone injection.

It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.

AHFS® Consumer Medication Information. © Copyright, The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 7272 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland. All Rights Reserved. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized by ASHP.

Selected Revisions: July 18, 2012.