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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Opiate Overdose Deaths Easily Prevented

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Opiate overdose deaths can be easily prevented by administering the drug naloxone. Many lives have been saved in states that allow the drug to be obtained by addicts and their loved ones; and a number of more lives will be saved because the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a handheld naloxone delivery system called Evizio, which contains a single dose of the opioid overdose antidote, The New York Times reports.

Current forms of naloxone are available in syringe form and the injection blocks the ability of opiates and opioids to attach to brain cells, preventing an overdose from being fatal. The new system resembles an EpiPen, used to stop allergic reactions to food and bee stings. Evzio was designed to make it easier for friends or relatives to save the life of a person who has overdosed. When the device is turned on, it will give verbal instructions about how to use it.

“This is a big deal, and I hope it gets wide attention,” said Dr. Carl R. Sullivan III, Director of the Addictions Program at West Virginia University. “It’s pretty simple: Having these things in the hands of people around drug addicts just makes sense because you’re going to prevent unnecessary mortality.”

The FDA published a news release, encouraging family members or caregivers to become acquainted with Evzio beforehand. “Family members or caregivers should also become familiar with the steps for using Evzio and practice with the trainer device, which is included along with the delivery device, before it is needed,” the FDA advises. Some overdoses may involve several doses of Evzio because the opioids may last longer than the naloxone, understanding the device beforehand is crucial for those who are expected to use Evzio.

Evzio is expected to be available this summer.
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