Narcan Nasal Spray, Auto-Injector, And Naloxone Kit

Last Updated: June 3, 2020

Authored by Nena Messina, Ph.D.

As the awareness about this life-saving medication increases, more and more people begin wondering about who makes naloxone and in what forms it is available. Various naloxone manufacturers provide several options to make the drug easier to use for both trained medical professionals and laypersons.

Narcan Nasal Spray

Naloxone nasal spray is one of the most widely used forms of medication. It comes under the brand name Narcan. Narcan is the first and only FDA-approved form of nasal naloxone. The main Narcan manufacturer is Adapt Pharma, acquired by Emergent Biosolutions in 2018.

What Is Narcan Nasal Spray?

Narcan spray is a first-line treatment to combat respiratory depression during an opioid overdose. It comes as a prepackaged device that doesn’t require assembly. Intranasal naloxone has several benefits that make it particularly effective in emergencies of an opioid overdose.

Who Can Administer It?

First of all, nasal Narcan can be used by caregivers, bystanders, and friends quickly and easily. Therefore, for many people who wonder how to administer Narcan correctly, this form may be the most suitable. Secondly, it allows for a consistent dose of the drug to be delivered as many times as it is necessary until the maximum dosage is reached.

naloxone nasal spray

How It Works

In addition, this route of administration also guarantees a rapid action of the medicine. Naloxone spray delivers the drug into the blood seconds after the administration. It begins exerting influence within only 2-3 minutes after it was delivered.

Naloxone Injection

Before nasal Narcan appeared, a naloxone auto-injector was the only available form of the medication for use in non-medical settings. A naloxone injector doesn’t have any significant practical advantages over the nasal spray, although they do have certain differences. While the Narcan half-life is similar for both intranasal and intramuscular routes of administration, the bioavailability of injectable naloxone is 50% higher than that of the nasal spray. It means that a single Narcan shot needs to administer half the amount of the drug contained in a dose of the nasal spray to produce the same results.

Evzio Auto-Injector

The company who makes Narcan does not supply it in an injectable form. Currently, the only FDA-approved injector that can be used outside the medical setting is Evzio, developed by Kaleo. Although many people lack the training to give shots, an Evzio injection is a rather easy and safe way to administer the medication. The auto-injector comes as a pre-filled device that gives voice and visual guidance. One of its few downsides is the price: compared to how much Narcan costs, Evzio can be quite expensive.

Naloxone Injectable

Naloxone injections are currently only used by medical professionals. The solution for intravenous, intramuscular, and subcutaneous administration had been the main route of administration until Evzio and Narcan nasal spray were developed.

Naloxone Rescue Kit: Contents And Manufacturers

Naloxone kits contain the necessary supplies to provide emergency help to a person who is at risk of dying from an opioid overdose. During an overdose, it is crucial to deliver the medication in time, and having a rescue kit at hand can greatly improve a person’s chances of survival. Besides, some patients find it more convenient to buy a naloxone kit from one supplier than to gather it themselves.

naloxone rescue kit

What Is A Narcan Kit?

A Narcan kit typically contains one or several doses of the medication, a device to administer the drug, and a written guide or a DVD of the instructional video. Naloxone kits that feature nasal Narcan have pre-assembled devices or needle-free syringes together with nasal adaptors. Naloxone injection kits include needles, syringes, or pre-assembled auto-injectors. The auto-injectors are frequently not reusable and contain only a single naloxone dose.

Who Manufactures Narcan Kits?

A Narcan kit contains devices and medication that are manufactured by different companies. Therefore, the only difference between buying all the components separately and acquiring a kit is convenience. Companies that distribute Narcan kits include McKesson Corporation, AAA Community Surgical, Emergency Medical Products, Mountainside Medical Equipment, and Kaleo Pharmaceuticals.

Naloxone Shelf-Life

Naloxone expiration could present a significant issue due to several factors. Drug addiction is a long-standing problem that brings a high risk of relapse and overdose years after a patient went through rehab. At the same time, keeping naloxone in their medicine cabinet for a long time may be expensive for many patients.

The shelf-life of Narcan is 18-24 months. Adapt Pharma, the company who makes Narcan warns against using the medication after the expiration date. However, NCBI reports that the drug can still be effective years after its expiration date. There is no known correlation between side effects of Narcan and its application after the medicine has expired.

Be Ready To Save A Life

Naloxone comes as a nasal spray and an intramuscular injection via a pre-filled auto-injector. The main naloxone makers are Adapt Pharma and Kaleo. There are no notable differences in effectiveness or safety between injectable and nasal forms of the medicine. The drug also comes as a part of opioid overdose rescue kits, distributed by various organizations and companies. Naloxone product forms are specifically designed to be used by people with no medical training. Everyone who is engaged in opioid abuse, including their family members or/and close friends, either undergoing addiction treatment or not, needs to get a doctor’s consultation on how to recognize the symptoms of an overdose. This knowledge allows for increasing a person’s chances of survival.

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Published on: June 19th, 2019

Updated on: June 3rd, 2020

About Author

Nena Messina, Ph.D.

Nena Messina is a specialist in drug-related domestic violence. She devoted her life to the study of the connection between crime, mental health, and substance abuse. Apart from her work as management at addiction center, Nena regularly takes part in the educational program as a lecturer.


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