- The current opioid overdose crisis causes 115 deaths every day in the United States.
- For the first time in history, the FDA authorized an OTC that reverses the effects of the consumption of this type of drug.
of opioid overdose.
- In recent days, President AMLO proposed to ban fentanyl for medical use to reduce its use and supposedly end the problem.
Opioid overdose remains a major emergency that must be attended to immediately. At the moment the most affected country is the United States, although if the problem persists it could spread to other territories. For this reason, one of the priorities is to offer alternative solutions from various fronts. It is not only the responsibility of patients and pharmaceutical companies but also of the authorities.
The origin of everything was generated by a noble creation and it was the development of opioids. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describes them as a class of drug that works to reduce pain. They are usually prescribed by doctors for the treatment of moderate to severe pain, although they often cause several serious side effects.
Common types are oxycodone (OxyContin), hydrocodone (Vicodin), morphine, and methadone. There is also the fentanyl, which is a synthetic opioid pain reliever. It is many times more potent than other opioids and is approved for the treatment of severe pain, usually pain caused by advanced-stage cancer.
However, the biggest problem is that in recent years there has been an exponential increase in the illegal manufacturing and distribution of fentanyl. The result is a cheap but very poor quality product. While the most dangerous thing is that it generates too strong an addiction that has given rise to the current opioid overdose.
New OTC drug to reverse the effects of opioid overdose
To understand the magnitude of the problem, in the United States alone, 115 people die every day from excessive consumption of this type of drug. Against this background, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) made a historic decision. This is the authorization of the first over-the-counter drug in history that works against opioid overdose.
In this case it is Narcan in its presentation of 4 milligrams (mg) of naloxone hydrochloride in nasal spray. This medicine had been authorized by the health authorities in 2015 but at that time a prescription was required for its acquisition.
The difference is that now it is free sale with the intention that more people can buy it if necessary.
As described, this naloxone-based antidote rapidly reverses the effects of opioid overdose.
Proposal to ban fentanyl for medical use in Mexico
This decision was announced in the midst of the controversy over fentanyl generated in Mexico. It all started from the proposal of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador about prohibiting its medical use. The sustenance is that in this way it would reduce its unnecessary consumption.
His words immediately caused various reactions. In particular, there was strong opposition when pointing out that the idea does not attack the root of the problem. The biggest problem of opioid overdose is generated by the illegal manufacture and sale and not by its use within hospitals.
In fact, restricting fentanyl from medical use would only cause patients more pain. And although there are other alternatives, not all of them are accessible, in addition to the fact that their price is higher.
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