What is Naloxone?
Naloxone, also knows by the brand name of Narcan, is a medication designed to rapidly
reverse opioid overdose. It is an opioid antagonist – meaning that it binds to opioid receptors
and can reverse and block the effects of other opioids. It can very quickly restore normal
respiration to a person whose breathing has slowed or stopped as a result
of overdosing with heroin or prescription opioid pain medications.
Opioids suppress the body’s urge to breathe. If someone is not breathing or is struggling
to breathe, they are experiencing an overdose. Other signs of overdose are blue or
pale skin color, small pupils, low blood pressure, slow heartbeat, slow or shallow breathing,
and snoring sounds.
lowans do not need a prescription to obtain naloxone, and anyone can purchase the
medication to have in case of emergency. In 2016 Patricia Quinlisk, the state health
department’s medical director, signed a “standing order” for naloxone, in an effort to
provide access to this life saving medication. The order effectively serves as a
prescription allowing pharmacies to distribute the medications to anyone who wishes to purchase.
To obtain more information, or to purchase, contact your local pharmacy. If your
pharmacy does not participate in the program, they can direct you to a pharmacy that does.