An easy-to-use opioid overdose antidote for outpatients has gained approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in just 15 weeks. Physicians may prescribe the drug to someone taking opioids or to other members of the household who may be at risk, such as child who might ingest a parent’s medication, according to FDA spokeswoman Sandy Walsh.
The product, called Evzio, is an autoinjectable device containing a single dose of naloxone.
Naloxone has long been a staple in emergency departments, where it is used to reverse the effects of an overdose of an illicit or prescription opioid. It is also used to reverse the effects of anesthesia. But local and national organizations have worked to make the drug more widely available in the community to combat an ongoing epidemic of opioid overdoses. According to the FDA, there were 16 000 deaths from overdose of prescription opioids in 2010 and 3000 heroin overdoses.