The first ever over-the-counter version of the opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Wednesday, a move that could dramatically increase access to the lifesaving medication.
The FDA approved Narcan, the brand name version of the drug manufactured by Emergent BioSolutions.
Naloxone is a medicine that can help reduce opioid overdose deaths and when administered timely, usually within minutes of the first signs of an overdose, can counter the effects.
According to the FDA, prescription Narcan is currently the most commonly sold emergency treatment for opioid overdose in U.S. pharmacies. It was first approved in 2015 to treat known or suspected opioid overdoses for people of all ages, including newborns.
Until now, it was only available with a prescription, though all 50 states have found workarounds to make the drug available at the pharmacy.