Naloxone dosage for opioid reversal: current evidence and clinical implications.
Opioid-related mortality is a growing problem in the United States, and in 2015 there were over 33,000 opioid-related deaths. To combat this mortality trend, naloxone is increasingly being utilized in a pre-hospital setting by emergency personnel and prescribed to laypersons for out-of-hospital administration. With increased utilization of naloxone there has been a subsequent reduction in mortality following an opioid overdose. Reversal of opioid toxicity may precipitate an opioid-withdrawal syndrome. At the same time, there is a risk of inadequate response or re-narcotization after the administration of a single dose of naloxone in patients who have taken large doses or long-acting opioid formulations, as the duration of effect of naloxone is shorter than that of many opioid agonists. As out-of-hospital use of this medication is growing, so too is concern about effective but safe dosing.
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