View Full Version : Overdose antidote introduced

06-Sep-12, 14:32
Naloxone is aimed at reducing drug deaths

IN a first for the UK, NHS Highland will be the first Board to introduce a take home Intranasal Naloxone service for drug users and their families as part of NHS Highland’s Harm Reduction Service.
The service already runs a very successful Naloxone programme where drug users and their friends and family are given advice on recognising the signs of an overdose and how to administer Naloxone, an antidote to an opiate overdose, safely.
At the moment Naloxone is administered by injection however, after published data showed that the intranasal method, where the antidote is put up the nostril and absorbed that way, worked just as well plans have been put in place to allow that method to be used in Highland Lisa Ross, NHS Highland’s Clinical Harm Reduction Nurse Specialist, explained that the Highland Naloxone programme started as a pilot programme in July 2009 and was rolled out across Highland in 2010, and there is very good engagement from drug users and their families.
She said: “Naloxone is about reducing drug related deaths. Every use of Naloxone is potentially a life saved. The programme provides training on overdose prevention, intervention and the administration of Naloxone in the event of an opiate overdose to those at risk, their friends & family members and to staff working with those at risk."
“s Ross continued: "Trainees are given a take home supply of Naloxone which they can then use if they witness an overdose, whilst waiting for the arrival of paramedics.”
She explains that there can be barriers to the current take home Naloxone which involves injecting equipment and some people do not feel comfortable performing an injection, or fear needle-stick injuries, particularly in an emergency situation.
The new system will involve an intranasal device attached to the pre-filled syringe which is then placed into the entrance of the nostril. When the syringe plunger is pressed, the drug exits the tip of the device in the form of a fine mist which is rapidly absorbed across the mucus membrane and into the bloodstream.
The intranasal device enables a non-invasive, fast, safe & painless method of delivering Naloxone directly into the patient’s bloodstream, without the need for needles and intramuscular administration.
In the UK currently, several NHS Ambulance Services Trusts are using the nasal device to administer Naloxone, including South Western, Great Western & East Midlands Ambulance Service Trusts but this will be the first time it has been used as part of a take home service.
Ms Ross said: “The most likely people to witness an overdose are the drug users and we know that those who come and do the training get a lot out of it but we also know there are those who do not like the idea of carrying around the injecting equipment and using it on others in the event of an overdose.
“By moving to intranasal we will be able to engage more fully with those who maybe wouldn’t have come for training and support before. Evidence from our Naloxone programme shows that by engaging with the service they are motivated into doing something for themselves and others. Having that knowledge that they can make a difference has a positive effect on them.”
To date over 800 supplies of Naloxone have been made with over 160 recorded uses with successful reversal of the overdose state.
The intranasal programme will start later this month.