ADPH hopeful new opioid reversal nasal spray will save lives

There is a new tool to combat opioid overdoses.
Published: May. 23, 2023 at 9:25 PM CDT|Updated: May. 23, 2023 at 10:21 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The Alabama Department of Public Health is optimistic about Opvee, a nasal spray the Food and Drug Administration recently approved to combat opioid overdoses.

“Having this drug in people’s hands allows it to be delivered sooner and potentially save lives,” said Dr. Wes Stubblefield with ADPH.

Reports say it works similar to Narcan, a naloxone drug that is already on the market that reverses the fatal effects of opioids like fentanyl.

The FDA reports more than 103,000 deadly overdoses within a year, and Stubblefield said it is a growing problem in Alabama too.

“It continues to rise over time,” Stubblefield said. “We know that poisonings included in poisonings is overdoses. It continues to be a one of the leading causes of death in older individuals, especially young adults.”

Opvee will be available through a prescription for patients 12 and up, according to The Associated Press. Meanwhile, Narcan became an over-the-counter drug in March.

Stubblefield recommends families have it on hand.

“Any of us can be exposed to someone, and so I think that people should really consider having this as part of just their individual safety plan,” Stubblefield said.

Opioid reversal drugs can cause some side effects. The AP lists nausea, diarrhea, muscle cramps and anxiety. Stubblefield said these symptoms are just opioid withdrawals. He stressed that these medications are safe.

When it comes to fentanyl, any medication can be laced. ADPH wants the public to be weary of suspicious pills that they were not prescribed.

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