Skip Navigation LinksHome > August 2014 - Volume 114 - Issue 8 > Naloxone Now Available for Emergency Home Use
AJN, American Journal of Nursing:
doi: 10.1097/01.NAJ.0000453037.93499.8d
Drug Watch

Naloxone Now Available for Emergency Home Use

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Abstract

* Naloxone, sold under the trade name Evzio, is now available as an autoinjection system to treat known or suspected opioid overdose in children or adults.

* Following a dose of Evzio, follow-up emergency care is still required to prevent recurrence of opioid-overdose symptoms.

Death from prescription drug overdose is a growing problem in the United States. The drug naloxone, when given after an opioid overdose, can temporarily reverse the effects of the opioid and keep the victim breathing until further help is available. But it hasn't always been possible to get naloxone to a patient in time. Now a naloxone autoinjection system, sold under the trade name Evzio, is available; this prescription form of naloxone is designed to be used by family members or caretakers to treat known or suspected opioid overdose in children or adults.

Evzio provides a single dose of 0.4 mg naloxone either intramuscularly or subcutaneously. When the autoinjection device (called an auto-injector) is turned on, it provides electronically generated verbal directions on administration of the medication. There are also printed directions if the verbal system fails. After the dose is administered, a red indicator appears in a viewing window, and there will be both electronic visual and verbal confirmation that the complete dose was given. The needle retracts automatically into the housing of the pen after injection.

Use of Evzio should be considered the first step in providing emergency care after an opioid overdose. Like other forms of naloxone, Evzio works by blocking opioid receptors and has a short half life. Because most opioids have longer half lives than naloxone, the symptoms of overdose can return as the naloxone wears off. Evzio will allow rapid initial treatment of overdose, providing time for emergency medical personnel to arrive or for the victim to be transported to the ED. As with traditional naloxone, administration of Evzio can cause signs and symptoms of opioid withdrawal when it's administered to someone who is opioid dependent.

Nurses should provide education to family members on the use of Evzio's autoinjection device. A training device is included with the packaging; practice sessions with the “trainer” should take place before there is an emergency. Although the device containing medication can only be used once, the training device can be used multiple times. It's important to emphasize that emergency care is still needed after administration of Evzio.

Complete prescribing information can be found at http://1.usa.gov/1iLM4Rq.

© 2014 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. All rights reserved.

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