Naloxone

Naloxone is effectively an antidote to opioid overdose, will completely reverse the effects of an opioid overdose if administered in time. Naloxone is effective when delivered by intravenous, intramuscular, subcutaneous, and intranasal routes of administration. Naloxone has virtually no effect on people who have not taken opioids.

Access to naloxone is generally limited to health professionals. In many countries, there is still limited availability of naloxone even in medical settings, including ambulances.

Since most overdoses are witnessed by a friend or family member, if a friend or family member had access to naloxone, he or she may be able to reverse the effects of opioid overdose, while waiting for medical care to arrive. While naloxone administered by bystanders is a potentially life-saving emergency interim response to opioid overdose, it should not be seen as a replacement for comprehensive medical care.

In recent years, a number of programs around the world have shown that providing naloxone to people likely to witness an opioid overdose, in combination with training on the use of naloxone and on the resuscitation of people having an opioid overdose, could substantially reduce the deaths resulting from opioid overdose.

Source: WHO