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A Guide for Clinicians on “Take Home” Naloxone Prescribing

George, Sanju MRCPsych; Moreira, Karen MBBS

Addictive Disorders & Their Treatment: September 2008 - Volume 7 - Issue 3 - p 163-167
doi: 10.1097/ADT.0b013e31812f5643
Original Articles

Overdosing is the most common cause of death among heroin addicts and it has been found that most such overdoses are witnessed by other drug users. Hence, it is only logical to argue that if naloxone (a full opioid antagonist and an effective antidote in reversing the effects of heroin overdose) could be administered immediately in such cases of opiate overdose (by anyone witnessing the overdose), lives could be saved. However, its distribution (“take home” strategy) to heroin addicts or even their carers, as a public health/harm reduction strategy, in an attempt to reduce heroin overdose-related mortality, is a rather new approach. In this paper, we discuss the rationale and evidence base for prescribing take home naloxone and provide some practical guidance to clinicians who wish to prescribe it to their patients. This brief account is primarily intended to raise awareness among clinicians and other key stakeholders of the issues related to take home naloxone prescribing.

Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHSTrust, Birmingham, England

Reprints: Dr Sanju George, MRCPsych, Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHSTrust, Birmingham, England, B37 7UR (e-mail:

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.