Opioid Overdose Reversal

About Opioid Overdose

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that, in the U.S., there is one opioid overdose death every 19 minutes; and every day 7,000 people are treated in emergency departments for using painkillers in a manner other than as directed. The difference between an effective and fatal opioid dosage can be small and unpredictable. Both patients who are prescribed opioids and subjects who abuse opioids are at risk for overdose. This is because in addition to mediating pain relief opioids reduce the rate of respiration. During an opioid overdose the most prevalent hazard from the significant increase in activation of opioid receptors is respiratory depression, which can lead to respiratory arrest and death.

Currently, injectable naloxone is used to reverse opioid overdose, but is only effective if administered in time. Opioid antagonists can prevent and reverse overdose through binding to opioid receptors in the brain and thus prevent exogenous opioids (such as heroin or opioid painkillers) from activating these opioid receptors.

In collaboration with its commercial partner, Adapt Pharma, Opiant has developed a naloxone nasal spray, a treatment for opioid overdoses and alternative to injection treatments. NARCAN® (naloxone HCl) Nasal Spray has FDA approval for commercial use in the United States. As Opiant’s naloxone nasal treatment is designed to be administered by a broad population, it has the potential advantage that a trained healthcare professional is not required to administer the drug.