Study Challenges Efficacy of High-Dose Naloxone in Opioid Overdose Survival, Raises Concerns Over Cost and Withdrawal Symptoms

February 8, 2024

A study published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report found no significant survival advantage for opioid overdose patients receiving an 8-milligram dose of naloxone over the standard 4-milligram dose. Despite pharmaceutical companies marketing higher-dose naloxone products amidst rising drug deaths and the prevalence of potent synthetic opioids like fentanyl, the study indicates that a higher initial dose does not necessarily improve outcomes but does increase the likelihood of severe withdrawal symptoms, such as vomiting. This research challenges the push for costlier high-dose naloxone, advocating for the efficacy of standard doses and cautioning against exploiting public health crises for profit. The findings underscore the complexity of overdose reversal, especially with substances like fentanyl and xylazine complicating the landscape, and highlight the importance of evidence-based approaches to naloxone use in overdose prevention.

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[Source: STAT, February 7th, 2024]

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