Do I Need a Prescription for Naloxone?

Written by Kristen Miranda, MD, MPH

Important information about having naloxone on hand for an opiate overdose.

Do I need a prescription for naloxone?

Almost every state has some way to purchase naloxone, an “opioid antagonist” used to treat a narcotic overdose, without a prescription. Not every pharmacy will have the drug on hand, however, so it’s best to call ahead and check because they may need to order it for you.

We suggest starting with a web search for naloxone and your zip code or town, because laws and assistance can also vary at the city and county levels. Some major chain pharmacies have committed to having naloxone on hand; CVS, Rite Aid, Walmart/Sam’s Club, Walgreens, and Kroger have made the pledge to have it available.

Many needle exchange centers also offer naloxone kits for free, or at a reduced price. A few states also offer databases where you can find programs that supply the drug and offer training so people feel comfortable administering it.

How do I use naloxone?

We highly recommend getting training to administer naloxone. The training is free online and, just like with CPR, it is important that you get the training in advance to avoid panicking in an emergency situation.

How much does naloxone cost? Will my insurance cover naloxone?

Naloxone can be a little pricey, but there are many ways to reduce the cost. Insurance often covers naloxone, and with many insurance plans, the drug doesn’t need to be for you—you can buy it for someone else, or just to have in case of an emergency. If you don’t have insurance, GoodRx offers free printable coupons for several major chain pharmacies to help offset the cost. HeyDoctor can prescribe naloxone for you online for $20.

What types of naloxone exist

Naloxone comes in several forms that have different benefits in terms of how easy they are to use during an overdose situation. Whatever type you choose to buy, be sure to read the instructions and watch the free online training videos ahead of time so you'll be prepared.

Narcan nasal spray

Narcan is one of the most common forms of naloxone and comes as a spray you squirt in the nose of someone who is having an opioid overdose. It usually costs about $140.

Naloxone syringe

The naloxone syringe is usually the cheapest form of naloxone at about $20 – $30, but it can be a little harder to use than the nasal spray. Depending on the pharmacy, it can come as a nasal spray that you have to load up, or as something that you inject into muscle (like a shot).

Evzio

The Evzio injector is the most expensive naloxone option, but it’s one of the easiest to use; it’s like an EpiPen in that it automatically injects the medicine and also has voice instructions explaining what to do while you are using it. The price for Evzio can vary, but if you qualify for the manufacturer’s savings program, it can cost you between $90 – $200.

The views expressed in this article intend to highlight alternative studies and induce conversation. They are the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of HeyDoctor, and are for informational purposes only, even if and to the extent that this article features the advice of physicians and medical practitioners. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.

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