FDA approves new nasal spray medication to combat opioid overdoses

WASHINGTON – In the midst of the deadliest drug epidemic in U.S. history, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given the green light to a new, easy-to-use medication to reverse opioid overdoses. Nasal spray OPVEE has been approved to use in individuals aged 12 and older. This announcement comes shortly after Emily’s Hope informed you that almost 110,000 Americans lost their lives to drug overdoses in 2022 alone.

OPVEE, the first nalmefene hydrochloride nasal spray authorized by the FDA, functions similarly to naloxone or Narcan by blocking the effects of opioids in the brain. Indivior, the drug’s manufacturer, plans to make it available with a prescription by late 2023. Opiant Pharmaceuticals, the developer of OPVEE, was recently acquired by Indivior.

Opvee Nasal Spray/Photo Courtesy of Indivior

“We are fully committed to ensuring widespread availability of this revolutionary rescue medication to those who need it most, with the aim of saving lives,” Indivior CEO Mark Crossley said in a statement.

In government-funded studies, OPVEE demonstrated comparable recovery outcomes to Narcan, the leading brand of naloxone nasal spray. The side effects, including nasal and throat discomfort, headache, nausea, and dizziness, were also found to be similar to Narcan. It is important to note that individuals who are opioid-dependent may experience opioid withdrawal symptoms such as a rapid heart rate, irritability, abdominal cramps, and increased blood pressure when using OPVEE.

In another significant development, the FDA recently granted approval for Narcan to be sold over the counter, further empowering communities to combat the opioid crisis.

Stay tuned as we delve deeper into the implications of these advancements in opioid overdose prevention and explore the ongoing efforts to save lives and combat the devastating effects of the overdose crisis.