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Naloxone is used to treat opioid drug overdose, reverse respiratory depression caused by opioids in adults and in newborns (when the mother has been treated) and to diagnose acute opioid overdose or intoxication.

How it works

Naloxone belongs to the class of drugs called opioid antagonists. It works by blocking the opioid receptors, does not let opioid drugs act and prevents or reverses the effects of opioids.

Common side effects

Restlessness, Nervousness, Palpitations, Body ache, Diarrhoea, Headache, Sweating, Hot flushes, Injection site burn, Injection site pain, Injection site redness, Nausea, Running nose, Shivering, Trembling, Sneezing, Stomach cramp, Tachycardia, Heart rate irregular, Vomiting, Yawning, Fever


Expert advice

  • Consult the doctor if you suffer from heart problems, fits (seizures), have a history of head injury or brain tumor, or if you are addicted to drugs or alcohol.
  • It is recommended not to drive or do any activity that requires alertness as naloxone impairs thinking or reaction.
  • Tell your doctor if you are or planning to become pregnant or are breastfeeding.
  • Naloxone does not act against respiratory depression caused by drugs other than opioids.
  • Do not drink alcohol if you are taking naloxone.
  • Inform the doctor if you are taking any pain killers, sleeping pills (sedatives), narcotic painkillers, or other medicines.

Frequently asked questions


Q. Is naloxone a controlled substance?
No. Naloxone is not a controlled substance.
Q. Is naloxone addictive?
No. Naloxone is not addictive.
Q. Is naloxone water soluble?
Yes. Naloxone is soluble in water.
Q. Is naloxone absorbed orally?
Yes. Naloxone is relatively well absorbed after oral administration. However, it undergoes extensive first-pass metabolism, making this route of delivery ineffective.
Q. Is naloxone in subutex?
No. Naloxone is not present in subutex.
Q. Does naloxone block tramadol?
No. naloxone does not block tramadol.
Q. Does naloxone cause constipation?
No. Naloxone does not cause constipation.
Q. Does naloxone reverse methadone?
Yes. Naloxone reverses the effects of methadone.
Q. Does naloxone reverse ketamine?
No. Naloxone does not reverse the effect of ketamine as it is an anaesthetic agent.
Q. Does naloxone block buprenorphine?
Naloxone does not block buprenorphine if it is taken in pill form, but when injected or snorted it will.

Content on this page was last updated on 30 September, 2016, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)