FDA approves anti-overdose drug for heroin
Published 3:18 pm, Friday, April 4, 2014
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday approved a new delivery system for a drug that officials have called an antidote to overdoses from heroin and other opiates.
Evzio is a hand-held auto-injector for the drug naloxone and is designed for easy use by those who may not have the expertise to administer the anti-overdose systems already on the market, like Narcan.
Both products deliver the same drug, which Dr. Peter Rostenberg, an addiction specialist based in New Fairfield, said saves lives.
The difference between Evzio and Narcan, which is currently available in pharmacies in Connecticut, is that Narcan must be administered using a syringe or intranasal delivery system, while Evzio is a self-contained device that uses audible instructions to guide a lay person through the dosing process, according to an FDA press release.
Evzio injects naloxone either into a patient's muscle or beneath the skin.
Rostenberg, who prescribes Narcan though his practice in New Fairfield, said he was not yet familiar with Evzio, as it was only approved on Thursday and pharmaceutical sales people are barred from discussing medications with doctors prior to their approval.
Rostenberg said he intends to look into Evzio, but that he has found the intranasal delivery of Narcan to be relatively easy to use and inexpensive.
Evzio's approval on Thursday came about three months ahead of schedule, as it was placed on the FDA's priority review program, which is reserved for therapies for which no alternatives exist.
Evzio is intended to make it easy enough for those without medical training to administer the drug to loved ones in the moments after they suffer an opiate overdose.
The FDA noted in its release that in the last decade, drug-overdose deaths have increased steadily to the point that they now stand as the leading cause of injury or death, surpassing motor vehicle crashes.
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