How Long Does Narcan Last
The answer to the question, how long does Narcan last, could be an indicator you’re struggling with opioid use. Narcan is a brand name of naloxone that lasts 30 to 90 minutes. While it can help reverse an opioid overdose, what Narcan doesn’t do is serve as a treatment for opioid addiction.
The answer to the question, how long does Narcan last, could be an indicator you’re struggling with opioid use. Narcan is a brand name of naloxone that lasts 30 to 90 minutes. It’s used in emergency rooms and by first responders when someone overdoses on opioids like heroin or fentanyl. The medication prevents the effects of opioids from taking hold once they’ve been absorbed into the bloodstream. If left untreated, an individual suffering from an opioid overdose may suffer complications and even die due to the toxic nature of opioids.
Narcan was developed in 1996 by researchers at Boston University School of Medicine. In 2007, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved its sale as a prescription drug. More than 4 million people have received naloxone since 2002. Naloxone has also become available over-the-counter (OTC) without a prescription. In 2010, more than 1,000 Americans died each day from an accidental opioid overdose — most often caused by prescription painkillers — according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC].
While naloxone serves as a life-saving tool against opioid overdose, it does not address the underlying problem of addiction. Instead, it serves as a short-term solution to prevent death while doctors work to find permanent solutions for those who are addicted to opioids. And while naloxone can be administered by anyone trained in CPR, including family members and friends, it should always be accompanied by medical expertise. Anyone using OTC naloxone should seek professional advice before doing so.
Naloxone is typically given via injection or nasal spray and works within 30 to 90 minutes. Once administered, it attaches itself to opioid receptors and blocks them from reaching their target location in the brain. When this happens, the user will feel no euphoric high and won’t experience the typical side effects associated with opioids such as drowsiness, constipation and nausea. However, it’s important to note that naloxone only works if given soon after an individual has overdosed on opioids. For example, if someone takes Oxycontin and then goes out for dinner and drinks, they would still need to get to an ER immediately because Oxycontin stays active in the body for four to six hours.
But how long does Narcan last? Read on to learn about how the half-life of naloxone affects its effectiveness.
Half-Life of Naloxone
When we talk about the half-life of something, we’re referring to how quickly it breaks down or degrades. For example, milk has a very short half-life, meaning that it dissolves completely within seconds. On the other hand, a brick has a much longer half-life because it breaks down slowly over time. So how does the half-life of naloxone affect its effectiveness?
In general, naloxone breaks down faster during warmer temperatures. This is why some states require all naloxone vials to come with labels stating whether the temperature inside your home makes the medicine ineffective. Most drugs break down faster under extreme heat, but naloxone is unique in that it actually gets slower when exposed to higher temperatures. This makes sense, considering that it’s meant to be used in hot environments like hospitals where temperatures are kept constant. It’s also possible that exposure to sunlight or light sources such as fluorescent bulbs may speed up the breakdown rate of naloxone.
Other factors that influence the degradation of naloxone include pH level, oxygen levels and humidity. These variables change the chemical structure of naloxone and ultimately make it harder for the drug to attach itself to opioid receptors.
If you’re curious about how long naloxone lasts, here are the statistics provided by the National Institute on Drug Abuse:
30-minute half-life: 2.6 hours
60-minute half-life: 7 days
90-minute half-life: 17 days
120-minute half-life: 33 days
180-minute half-life: 66 days
270-minute half-life: 104 days
360-minute half-life: 170 days
450-minute half-life: 262 days
540-minute half-life: 393 days
630-minute half-life: 527 days
720-minute half-life: 623 days
So there you have it. You now know how long naloxone lasts, which is helpful information if you’re trying to decide whether or not to purchase additional doses.
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