Naloxone blocks or reverses the effects of opioids, including extreme drowsiness, slowed breathing, or loss of consciousness.
Naloxone is used to treat an opioid overdose. Naloxone is a temporary antidote that buys time for paramedics to arrive. If not taken to the hospital the overdose victim can fall back into the overdose within 30 minutes. This medicine should not be used in place of emergency medical care. Once administered, Naloxone will start to work in approximately 1-5 minutes. Naloxone stays active in the body for about 30 to 90 minutes. Since Naloxone only temporarily reverses an opioid overdose, It is important to call 911 before administering naloxone.
Naloxone will work only for drugs in the opioid family. However, if an overdose involves multiple substances, including opioids, naloxone helps by temporarily removing the opioid.
Naloxone will not cause harm if administered in the absence of opioids.
The NS Take Home Naloxone Program provides naloxone that can be injected intramuscularly (upper shoulder or upper thigh).
Naloxone has been approved for use in Canada for over 40 years and is on the World Health Organization List of Essential Medicines.