UA health expert weighs in on Narcan being deemed safe to sell over-the-counter

Published: Feb. 23, 2023 at 11:17 AM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - The overdose-reversing drug Naloxone could be available in pharmacies as soon as next month. An FDA panel voted last week to move forward with the switch to over-the-counter. If approved by the FDA, it would be the first opioid treatment that’s not a prescription drug.

“It stops an overdose. So, if someone is dying of an overdose Narcan is a life-saving treatment that reverses that,” Melody Glenn, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine and Psychiatry, said of the drug. She added this will help people overdosing on drugs like Oxycodone, Fentanyl, and Heroine.

It gets to work by removing the opioid from the brain’s receptors and will cause the person in distress to wake up and start breathing again.

This life-saving drug has mainly been in the hands of medical professionals.

“Unfortunately, a lot of fatal overdoses have not health care providers present. So, really, we need to get Naloxone to the hands of people who are using and for friends and family who are there when overdose occurs,” Glenn said.

But says there are still some concerns about the price of this medication, noting that Narcan is the “name brand” before continuing, “This is just for the internasal version, I believe, which is more expensive. Just because it’s going over the counter doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be affordable,” Glenn said.

We won’t know more details about the price of this drug until we get that full FDA approval.

But Glenn said if everything goes well, we’ll have Narcan available over-the-counter next month.