The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Narcan, an easy-to-use nasal spray that can help stop or reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, in November.
“Combating the opioid abuse epidemic is a top priority for the FDA,” Dr. Stephen Ostroff, acting commissioner of the FDA, said in a press release.
“We cannot stand by while Americans are dying," Ostroff added. "While naloxone will not solve the underlying problems of the opioid epidemic, we are speeding to review new formulations that will ultimately save lives that might otherwise be lost to drug addiction and overdose.”
The FDA fast-tracked approval for Narcan, which can be used to treat people who have overdosed on heroin and FDA-approved opioid prescription medications (Vicodin, OxyContin, Percocet, morphine).
Narcan's main ingredient, naloxone hydrochloride, has been used to help treat opiod overdoses for decades, but only in injectable forms; this is the first time it will be available as a nasal spray prescription.
Narcan, which is manufactured in Ireland, will be available in January 2016. This new user-friendly version sprays four milligrams, and could prove to be invaluable to first responders, notes the Good News Network
Narcan is much like an asthma inhaler, except it is placed over a person's nostril and sprayed. That simple act could keep a person alive long enough to get him or her to a hospital.