FDA advisers recommend selling Narcan over the counter (OTC)


 On Wednesday, a joint Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel unanimously recommended that the anti-opioid overdose drug Narcan (known generically as naloxone) be made available in nasal spray form without a prescription. It’s highly likely the FDA will grant OTC approval to Narcan next month, which could make it more widely available to the public as soon as this summer.

The Gist: Narcan has become one of the most essential tools to combat the unrelenting epidemic of opioid-related drug overdoses, which claimed a record 107K lives in 2021. Even though the medication can be prescribed to at-risk individuals and others who are in close contact with drug users, access thus far has been limited mostly to emergency responders and outreach workers.

While the US has successfully reduced the availability of the prescription opioids that initially sparked the crisis, a majority of recent deaths are attributed to synthetic opioids like fentanyl. This much-needed policy change acknowledges that efforts to restrict drug supply have stalled, and shifts the focus to broadening access to effective harm-mitigation tools

As community leaders on the frontline of the opioid epidemic, hospitals and providers can play a valuable role in publicizing expanded Narcan availability.

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