1 What is Narcan?

Brand: Narcan

Generic: Naloxone

Narcan nasal spray is administered as an emergency treatment for overdose or possible overdose from an opioid. The spray reverses the effects of opioids temporarily.

An opioid emergency is often characterized by several symptoms, such as breathing problems, slow heartbeat, extreme sleepiness, and unresponsiveness. Naloxone is a prescription drug.

2 What to Know Before Using

Before using Narcan, you must know all about the risks and complications associated with it.

Before using this drug, you and your doctor must consider the following:

  • Allergies: If you have any unusual reaction to any medicine, be sure to tell your doctor about it. Additionally, disclose other types of allergies - foods, preservatives, animals, or dyes, if there are any. Read the package ingredients carefully and make sure you are not allergic to any of its ingredients.
  • Pediatric: Studies show that there are no pediatric-specific problems that may limit the drug’s usefulness in children.
  • Geriatric: Studies show that there are no geriatric-specific problems that may limit the drug’s usefulness in the elderly. The elderly patients, however, may require caution and dose adjustments, as they are more likely to have age-related diseases like liver, kidney, or heart problems.
  • Pregnancy: No adequate studies done in pregnant women to determine safety and efficacy of use.
  • Breastfeeding: Although there are no adequate studies in lactating mothers that determine potential risk in an infant when breastfeeding, the benefits should be weighed against the risks before taking this medication.
  • Drug Interactions: Some drugs have adverse effects when used together. Make sure to inform your doctor about other drugs you are taking, so that alterations and precautions will be made if necessary. Before using naloxone, talk to your doctor about possible interactions if you are taking other medications.It is also important to inform your doctor if you are smoking tobacco or drinking alcohol since these may interact with the drug’s effectiveness. Inform your doctor about any drug you are using, prescription or nonprescription, as well as vitamin and herbal supplement.
  • Other Medical Problems: The use of this medicine may not be the same if you have other medical conditions, especially blood vessel disease or heart problem. Talk with your doctor first before using this drug.

3 Proper Usage

To use Narcan properly, you must follow all instructions given by your doctor. Upon a known or suspected opioid overdose, administer this medicine immediately. Use only in the nose.

Do not let medicine into the eyes or skin. Rinse off immediately if the spray comes in contact with these areas. When using the spray, do not prime or test it. The bottle only contains a single dose.

  • Lay the patient on its back and support his or her neck and allow the head to tilt back before administering the drug.
  • Insert the nozzle tip into one of the patient’s nostrils, press the plunger firmly to administer the dose.
  • Gently move the patient into the recovery position, or on its side, after giving naloxone.
  • Get emergency help right away.
  • Additional doses may be given to the patient every 2-3 minutes until help arrives or patiently becomes responsive.


The following dosing information includes only the average prescribed dose for this medicine. Follow your doctor’s orders even if it is different from what it is written here or on the insert.

For opioid overdose in adults and children, the initial dose is 1 spray in one nostril. Alternate nostrils if you will be giving more doses every 2-3 minutes, or until patient response.


Keep the medicine in an airtight container at normal room temperature. Keep it away from direct light, heat, and moisture. Do not let it freeze. Keep the medicine out of children’s reach.

4 Precautions to Take

In using Narcan, you must be careful and take some precautions as advised by your doctor.

After receiving this medicine, severe withdrawal symptoms may occur:

These symptoms include fever, body aches, sweating, sneezing, runny nose, goose bumps, weakness, yawning, shivering, nervousness, irritability, diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, and vomiting, increased blood pressure, and fast heartbeat.

5 Potential Side Effects

You may or may not feel side effects from using Narcan. If any side effect occurs, however, you may need to contact your doctor.

While some of the side effects may not require medical attention, some might be too serious that you may need emergency assistance. Side effects may include a headache or muscle or joint pains.