Drug manufacturer Hospira has voluntarily recalled two batches of its opioid antagonist naloxone, citing “embedded and loose particulate matter” on the product’s syringe plunger that may cause several adverse effects. According to a release issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on June 4, 2018, some of the side effects that users of the defective naloxone may experience include allergic reactions, irritation, tissue ischemia, pulmonary dysfunction, and toxicity. Notably, Hospira supplies naloxone with the Carpuject syringe system.
The latest recall covers single-use cartridge units with lot numbers 76510LL and 72680LL sold to hospitals, distributors and wholesalers across the U.S., Guam and Puerto Rico from February 2017 to February 2018. Significantly, the product’s label carries a statement directing its inspection for discoloration and presence of any particulate matter prior to administration, thus minimizing the risk.
According to the FDA release, to date, there have not been any reports of patient harm or adverse effects from the recalled product. Anyone who experiences any kind of an adverse reaction after using the drug should contact the agency immediately, it said. The recall of naloxone injection is important in the light of the ongoing opioid epidemic in the U.S. The drug that has long been used by emergency medical staff is now widely used by first responders, and is also available without a prescription in the country.
Is naloxone effective?
A non-addictive prescription drug, naloxone can reverse the effects of heroin and opioid overdose, and can be life-saving if administered on time. The drug can be administered by spraying into the nose, through an injection via a syringe and by an auto-injector. Naloxone works by binding to opioid receptors in the brain, and blocking effects of opioids. As the drug displaces opioids from receptors on nerve cells that control respiration, overdose victims are quickly revived.
However, as the effects of naloxone wear off in 20 to 90 minutes, its main purpose is to rescue someone immediately and get them proper medical attention. Although naloxone can start working in minutes when given on time, its effects depend on the dose and potency of the opioid drug taken. In some cases such as a fentanyl overdose, more than one dose of naloxone may be required to revive the patient.
The entire nation is hit hard by the opioid epidemic that has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives in recent years. On average, opioid overdoses claim 115 lives each day across the U.S. In 2016, more than 63,600 people died due to drug overdose. Of which, 66 percent involved an opioid.
Fortunately, opioid addiction is treatable with timely medical intervention. If an individual is grappling with opioid use disorder (OUD), he/she should immediately seek professional help from a top-notch addiction treatment facility. Remember that substance use disorders can wreak havoc in one’s life, if left untreated.
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