What to know about over-the-counter Narcan

The spray will cost about $45 for two doses.

Narcan, an opioid overdose reversal treatment, will soon be available without a prescription in U.S. pharmacies for about $45. The spray developed by Emergent BioSolutions Inc. was approved for over-the-counter use by the Food and Drug Administration in March. It is the first opioid antidote that is available without a prescription, allowing thousands of patients and their families easier access.

Here’s everything you need to know about it:

Can Narcan be used to treat heroin and fentanyl overdoses?

Narcan nasal spray is a life-saving treatment for opioid overdoses such as fentanyl and heroin.

How does it function?

When someone has an opioid overdose, their breathing slows and their brain runs out of oxygen. This can result in cardiac arrest, brain damage, and even death. Narcan is an opioid antagonist that restores respiratory function and thus saves lives.

According to the FDA, administering Narcan to an overdose victim may result in severe opioid withdrawal symptoms such as an elevated heart rate, nausea, and nervousness. When administering Narcan, experts say it’s critical to call 911.

Who produces it?

Emergent is a company best known for developing and manufacturing biological countermeasures such as anthrax and smallpox.

What will it cost?

The OTC spray will cost around $45 for two doses. Emergent claims that for public interest groups such as community organizations and first responders, the price will be reduced to $41.

The cost of Narcan is significant because most health insurers do not cover it without a prescription. Brand-name, prescription Narcan can cost up to $130, but it is frequently covered by insurance.

When will it be available and where will it be available?

Over-the-counter According to the manufacturer, Narcan will be available in stores as soon as early September. Along with Walmart, the spray will be available at Walgreens, Rite Aid, and CVS. It will be easy to find at checkout registers and pharmacy counters, and some customers may be able to order it for delivery.

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