Multiple federal panels of experts on addiction unanimously recommended Wednesday that the opioid antidote Narcan, which reverses overdoses, be sold over the counter in nasal spray form, deeming it safe to get out to the public without a prescription.
The recommendation comes amid a push to increase use of Narcan and make it widely available without a prescription in all 50 U.S. states amid rising drug overdose-related deaths.
The non-binding consensus came with some concerns from panel members regarding packaging and instructions. The manufacturer said it would take concerns into consideration and revise labeling as panel members pushed for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to act fast, even before planned follow up studies on labeling are performed.
Maria Coyle, a panel chair and pharmacy professor from Ohio State University, said, “There’s perhaps a far greater risk of delaying the availability of the product given the climate of this crisis and its devastating consequences."
The drug has been key in the fight against overdoses in the U.S. that have killed over 100,000 people each year.