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Medications and Drugs

Brand Names: Narcan

Generic Name: naloxone (Pronunciation: nah LOX own)

What is naloxone (Narcan)?

Naloxone is an special narcotic drug that reverses the effects of other narcotic medicines.

Naloxone is used to reverse the effects of narcotic drugs used during surgery or to treat pain.

Naloxone may also be used to treat narcotic drug overdose or to diagnose narcotic drug addiction.

Naloxone may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What are the possible side effects of naloxone (Narcan)?

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • chest pain, fast or irregular heartbeats;
  • dry cough, wheezing, feeling short of breath;
  • sweating, severe nausea or vomiting;
  • severe headache, agitation, anxiety, confusion, ringing in your ears;
  • seizure (convulsions);
  • feeling like you might pass out; or
  • slow heart rate, weak pulse, fainting, slow breathing (breathing may stop).

If you are being treated for narcotic drug addiction, the expected symptoms of withdrawal would include:

  • feeling nervous, restless, or irritable;
  • body aches;
  • dizziness, weakness;
  • diarrhea, stomach pain, mild nausea;
  • fever, chills, goosebumps; or
  • sneezing, runny nose.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What is the most important information I should know about naloxone (Narcan)?

You should not use this medication if you are allergic to naloxone.

In an emergency situation it may not be possible before you are treated to tell your caregivers about your health conditions or if you are pregnant or breast feeding. Make sure any doctor caring for you afterward knows that you have received this medication.

Naloxone may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert.

If you are using any narcotic pain medication, the pain-relieving effects of the narcotic will be reversed while you are also receiving naloxone.

Drinking alcohol can increase certain side effects of naloxone.

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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