Frequently Asked Questions about Over-the-Counter Narcan (Naloxone) for Opioid Overdose Reversal

After the March 2023 decision by the FDA to allow for over-the-counter Narcan across the U.S., many have been looking for the answers to these questions.

What is Narcan (naloxone)?

Narcan, also known as naloxone, is a medication that can quickly reverse an opioid overdose by blocking the effects of opioids on the nervous system.

How does Narcan work?

Narcan works by binding to the same receptors in the brain that opioids target, effectively blocking the opioids and reversing their effects.

Is Narcan now available over the counter?

Yes, the FDA has recently approved Narcan to be sold over the counter, making it more accessible to the public.

Where can I purchase over-the-counter Narcan?

You will be able to purchase Narcan in drug stores, convenience stores, grocery stores, gas stations, and online.

When will Narcan be available without a prescription?

Emergent BioSolutions, the manufacturer of Narcan, expects it to be available without a prescription by late summer.

Can anyone use Narcan?

Narcan can be administered to people of all ages, including babies, in case of an opioid overdose.

How should Narcan be administered during an overdose?

It is important to administer Narcan as soon as an opioid overdose is suspected. The FDA-approved version is a naloxone nasal spray, which should be sprayed into the nostril of the person experiencing the overdose.

Does Narcan have any side effects?

Narcan is generally safe and well-tolerated. However, it can cause withdrawal symptoms in individuals who are dependent on opioids. These symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, sweating, and agitation.

How will over-the-counter Narcan impact the opioid crisis?

The availability of over-the-counter Narcan is expected to improve access to the life-saving medication, increase the number of locations where it’s available, and help reduce opioid overdose deaths throughout the country.

Are there any training resources for using Narcan?

Many organizations and health departments offer training resources for using Narcan, including online tutorials and in-person courses. Check with your local health department for available resources in your area.

Remember to consult a healthcare professional for more information about Narcan and how to use it in case of an emergency.

Last updated: April 2, 2023