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Considerations for Over-the-Counter Naloxone: Patient, Family, and Practitioner Perspectives

Updated: Apr 5

A new report from the Addiction Policy Forum provides feedback from patients, caregivers, and practitioners on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) decision to allow individuals to access naloxone without a prescription. The FDA approved over-the-counter Narcan, 4 milligram (mg) naloxone hydrochloride nasal spray, on Tuesday, March 30. Naloxone is a potentially life-saving medication used to reverse an opioid overdose in an emergency.

The report includes five key themes based on feedback from patients, family members, and providers. The feedback stresses the need for naloxone access, affordability, links to treatment, and incorporating over-the-counter naloxone as one piece into a broader strategy to address addiction. The considerations are as follows:

  1. Widespread stakeholder support for over-the-counter naloxone.

  2. Over-the-counter naloxone should supplement not supplant current naloxone distribution systems.

  3. Address potential accessibility challenges and barriers in pharmacy settings.

  4. Ensure that over-the-counter naloxone is affordable.

  5. Safeguard linkage to treatment after overdose reversal.

The full APF report can be accessed here.

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