The use of opioids has increased considerably over the past few decades. This includes opioids with and without a prescription. Opioids are medications that are generally prescribed for pain management in people who do not find other pain treatments effective enough on their own. Opioid therapy is typically considered after other options have been exhausted and/or for end-of-life care. However, with the rise in the use of these medications, we have also seen a rise in the number of deaths associated with opioids. In fact, opioid overdose is responsible for more deaths than alcohol. Therefore, it is important to be aware of the symptoms of opioid overdose and to have the antidote available in case of an emergency.
Currently, there are two main opioid antidotes available commercially, namely naltrexone and naloxone. Naltrexone is generally used in the treatment of opioid use disorder or the prevention of relapses. Naloxone, on the other hand, is faster acting and is better suited to be used in emergency situations. It is available in pharmacies as a kit without any prescription. Just ask your pharmacist or come visit Guildview pharmacy for more information.
The symptoms of opioid overdose include shortness of breath, blue/greyish coloration of skin, loss of consciousness, shallow breathing, unresponsiveness to outside stimuli, slow pulse, limp body, and slurred speech. If a person is asleep, they may make choking sounds, which may be an indicator that they are experiencing overdose symptoms.
If you or someone you know is on opioids, whether prescribed or not, it is important to know about these symptoms. Timely intervention can save someone’s life. If you are aware of overdose symptoms you are in a better position to take action and prevent an opioid-related death.
Contact our pharmacists at Guildview Pharmacy to learn more about the free naloxone kit program. Anyone can get a life-saving kit without any cost, even if they need it for someone else.