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How Long Does Naloxone Block Opioid Receptors?

by Nick

Naloxone, also known as the branded medicine Narcan®, reverses an opioid overdose by blocking opioid receptors. Since it has no potential for abuse and is easy to administer, many experts recommend that people keep it for an emergency. Part of knowing how to administer naloxone involves understanding the length of its effects. This guide will explain how long naloxone works to block opioid receptors and give other vital information as well.

What Does Naloxone Do to Reverse an Opioid Overdose?

As an opioid antagonist, naloxone blocks and reverses the effects of opioids. The brain has receptors that send messages to the rest of the body when someone takes opioids. These opioid receptors affect the central nervous system (CNS), a network that includes the brain and spinal cord. When someone takes an opioid antagonist, it removes opioids from the receptors and replaces them.

By removing opioids from opioid receptors, naloxone reverses the effects of an overdose. An overdose happens when opioids cause too much central nervous system (CNS) depression, resulting in slow or stopped functions, particularly respiratory function. When naloxone replaces the opioid compounds on the receptors, the opioid receptors stop sending signals to depress the CNS. As a result, the person’s breathing, heartbeat and other functions go back to normal.

How Long Do the Effects of Naloxone Work?

When naloxone attaches to opioid receptors, it blocks them for 30 to 90 minutes. This period gives an emergency response team the time it needs to show up and provide help. Once medical professionals arrive, they’ll give critical care to allow the affected individual to continue recovering from the overdose. They individual in overdose may still need to go to the hospital as they can begin to experience the symptoms of overdose again after the initial dose of naloxone wears off.

What Factors Impact Naloxone’s Effectiveness?

The effectiveness of naloxone depends on its condition. Unlike opioids, opioid antagonists do not cause a person who uses them to build a tolerance. As a result, naloxone’s effectiveness stays the same regardless of someone’s history of naloxone treatments. However, naloxone does become less effective over time, so make sure to check its expiration date before using it. You should also store it in a dark, dry place at room temperature.

How Long Should I Monitor Someone After I Give Them Naloxone?

After you give someone naloxone, you should monitor them until an emergency team can take over. Continue to provide help such as rescue breathing until medical professionals arrive. If the naloxone seems to wear off after 30 to 90 minutes, you may need to administer it again.

What Do I Need to Do to Get and Use Naloxone?

State governments, pharmacies and community organizations provide naloxone and training to the public. Visit the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s website to learn where you can get naloxone in your area.

Get More Information About Opioids and Addiction

At Health Care Resource Centers, we educate patients, loved ones and the public about opioid addiction. We recommend visiting our blog to learn more about this subject.

If you or someone you know has opioid use disorder, we can also help. When you contact our staff online, you can schedule an appointment at one of our New England clinics or nationwide partners.

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