FDA approves over-the-counter use of Narcan nasal spray

Published: Mar. 29, 2023 at 5:33 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - A major breakthrough in the fight against the opioid epidemic - the FDA has approved Naloxone, better known as Narcan, for over-the-counter use.

The nasal spray, first approved by the FDA in 2015 with a prescription, is intended to reverse the effects of opioid overdose and is the standard treatment for it.

Local medical professionals say this could save lives.

“I think you’ll have more of an opportunity for the consumer to get the medication, and to reverse the opioids. I think that will be great for the overdoses so that you can reverse those… especially if you’re doing drugs with someone there, that way if you do have that intoxication and that overdose, you can reverse those pretty quickly,” said Dr. Jay Goldstein, medical director at Memorial Health ER.

According to the FDA, drug overdoses were responsible for nearly 102,000 deaths in the U.S. last year.

Congressman Buddy Carter, who has a background in pharmacy, sent a letter to the FDA last month asking for Narcan to be considered for over-the-counter use. It’s a change he says is just the beginning.

“It ought to be in every medicine cabinet in America. It ought to be available in every emergency box. It ought to be, wherever you see a defibrillator, you ought to see naloxone. It’s that much of a problem in our country right now,” said Rep. Carter.

However, Dr. Goldstein also says some doctors have this warning...

“Now, is this an opportunity for someone to get the medication and start experimenting? We don’t want that to happen. We want people to realize how bad drugs are, and just because there’s potentially an antidote at your hands, that’s not an excuse to start experimenting with the opioids.”

According to the FDA, availability and price of the over the counter option is up to the manufacturer… something that could be another obstacle.

“Cost is a little prohibitory for some people to get it, we’re hoping that as the costs go down, and as it becomes more available, and potential opportunities for generics to come out, so that way the cost will decrease, and people will have more opportunity to get it.”

Over the counter Narcan, a new tool in the fight against the opioid epidemic.