FDA Approves Evzio®, Automatic Injector of Naloxone
Naloxone is an opioid antagonist drug, available since 1971, with potentially lifesaving capabilities in case of accidental or intentional overdose with illicit opioids such as heroin and other prescription painkillers. Opioids bind to receptors in the brain and spinal cord causing the body to slow down. During an overdose, the body slows down to the point where it stops breathing. Administering naloxone reverses this process and frees up the receptors so they can function again.
Kaléo Pharma has developed EVZIO, the first and only naloxone auto-injector. Chief Medical Officer Eric Edwards, MD, PhD says “Immediate availability of EVZIO for family members and caregivers to administer during a suspected opioid overdose has the potential to save many lives.”
In 2010, the CDC reported that in the U.S. 16,652 deaths were due to overdoses with opioid drugs. That encompasses 75% of all drug-related deaths that year and breaks down to a little less than one death every half hour. The CDC published these findings in support of a nationwide naloxone distribution and awareness program. Even in the past month there have been reports from Staten Island and Atlanta of successful uses of naloxone to prevent deaths in the case of overdoses.
While similar in name, naloxone should not be confused with naltrexone which is an opioid receptor antagonist used in the management of alcohol and opioid dependence. In an overdose situation using naltrexone in place of naloxone can lead to insufficient opioid antagonism and fail to reverse the overdose. When used to cases of opioid dependence, naltrexone can block the drugs’ euphoric effects with the end goal of helping patients overcome their addiction.
EVZIO and naloxone will hopefully prevent the deaths of many opioid users if used correctly by first responders and family members or caregivers present during an overdose. If you or someone you know is ready to fight their addiction, please do not hesitate to contact AToN at (888) 535-1516, we are here to help 24/7.