What You Need To Know About The Arrival Of Narcan In Stores

Narcan: What You Need To Know About The Arrival Of Narcan In Stores | The Lifesciences Magazine

The nation’s drugstore and grocery chains are receiving shipments of Narcan, the first opioid overdose reversal treatment authorized for over-the-counter sales, according to the product’s manufacturer on Wednesday. Big-box retailers including Walgreens, CVS, Walmart, and Rite Aid predicted that Narcan will be on many shop shelves and available online early the following week.

Longtime advocates for more access to the drug, which they characterise as a vital tool in the fight against rising overdose rates, include public health specialists. In the last two years, there have been more than 100,000 opioid overdose deaths in the US. For emergency workers and street outreach teams, Narcan is already a standard. Scientists and public health authorities now hope that Narcan will eventually be available everywhere, including public libraries, subways, hostels, corner delis, and street vending machines.

As more individuals become aware that dangerous opioids like fentanyl can be found in illegal party drugs like cocaine and fake Xanax pills, they also predict that it may become a staple in medicine cabinets. The following information can help you purchase this life-saving drug.

Narcan’s Workings

The medicine naloxone, which comes in a nasal spray form called Narcan, blocks the effects of opioids on the brain and can be used to save someone who has overdosed on fentanyl, heroin, or oxycodone. If respiration slows or stops and the pupils of the eyes become pinpoint-sized, the person may be overdosing. Naloxone is typically seen as being so safe that specialists advise utilizing it rather than waiting when faced with a potential overdose.

Two palm-sized plunger devices, each containing four milligrammes of naloxone, are included in each box. The rescuer presses the plunger after inserting the spray tip into the patient’s nostril.

An overdose can typically be reversed with one dose in two to three minutes. However, according to addiction specialists, a second dose might be required in places with a strong fentanyl supply.

What will the price be?

The price will probably determine how widely Narcan is used. The two-dose box is suggested to cost $44.99 by the manufacturer, Emergent BioSolutions. Brendan Saloner, a specialist in addiction policy at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, remarked that “people with some money and motivation will seek out this product, which is fantastic.” “That might include worried relatives.”

In contrast, he continued, “this includes people who are unhoused or financially insecure and are at greatest risk of overdose.” He said that “this includes people who will need Narcan the most but may not be able to afford it.”

Public and private insurance readily covered Narcan when it could only be obtained with a prescription. But the coverage of over-the-counter medications is usually limited by those programmes. When Narcan becomes a generic drug, some state Medicaid programmes have already stated that they will pay for it. Missouri, California, Massachusetts, Washington, Rhode Island, and Oregon are among those states.

Purchasing in bulk from public interest organisations and state health authorities, who will then distribute Narcan to regional outreach organisations and clinics, would result in lower rates, according to Emergent.

How Can I Locate Narcan at a Store?

More expensive items or those that are more likely to be stolen are frequently stored behind a counter or in a secured container by retailers. However, according to behavioural health experts, customers may be hesitant to ask store employees for Narcan out of worry that they will receive raised eyebrows and disparaging remarks, signs of the ongoing stigma associated with drug use and addiction.

Rite Aid said that Narcan would be sold in the pain management aisles and at the pharmacy counter. The front register will also have it in many locations, including CVS. The next week, Narcan will be available for purchase online through Rite Aid, Walgreens, Walmart, and CVS, allowing greater anonymity.

The stigma around naloxone, according to Dr. Saloner, “will always exist, but I think there has been a sea change in how the public perceives naloxone over the last decade, and many more people are willing to carry it.”

What Lies Ahead?

Despite being the first overdose reversal medication to be supplied over-the-counter, Narcan is likely to face competition from less expensive products in the near future.

Since Teva Pharmaceuticals’ generic naloxone spray may still be obtained with a prescription, both public and private insurance plans frequently cover its cost. Most jurisdictions have a “standing order” that allows chemists to distribute the spray without a doctor’s prescription. The cost of generic naloxone for someone with Medicaid or private insurance may be less than $10.

Customers are encouraged to request Narcan at the pharmacy counter “so that our pharmacy teams can check a patient’s insurance plan for potential savings on prescription naloxone products,” according to a representative for CVS.

The RiVive naloxone spray, which is scheduled to go on sale in early 2024, received over-the-counter approval from the Food and Drug Administration earlier this summer. Harm Reduction Therapeutics’ RiVive is a low-cost medication primarily for outreach organisations. There are already other naloxone dosages accessible with a prescription, such as ones with higher concentrations and some put in syringes.

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