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Narcan Uses

How Does It Work?

It is not completely known how Narcan works. The drug is thought to work by competing with opioids for opioid receptors. Narcan produces no effects when it binds to opioid receptors. However, it prevents other opioid medicines from also binding to the receptors, thus blocking the actions of these other opioid medicines.
There are several types of opioid receptors located throughout the body. Narcan is thought to bind to mu, kappa, and sigma opioid receptors, but has its greatest effects on mu receptors.
The effects of Narcan may be shorter than those of some opioids. This means, in some cases, the drug may need to be given in repeated doses until the opioid medicine is no longer active in the body.

Is It Safe for Children to Use Narcan?

Narcan is approved to reverse the effects of opioids in children and infants, including newborn babies. It is not approved for treating septic shock in children or newborns, as it has not been adequately studied for this use in children and may not be safe. Talk to your child's healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of using this medication in children.

Can Older Adults Use It?

Yes, older adults can use Narcan. However, there were not enough older adults in clinical studies to determine if they would respond to the medicine any differently than younger age groups. In general, older adults should be treated with lower initial Narcan doses.

Off-Label Narcan Uses

On occasion, your healthcare provider may recommend this medicine for something other than the officially approved uses. This is known as an "off-label" use. Narcan may be used off-label as a nasal spray for treating an opioid overdose. It may also be used off-label to treat itching or constipation caused by opioids.
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Narcan Medication Information

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