Advanced Life Support (ALS) Level 3 (VTQ)

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Naloxone hydrochloride

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Naloxone Hydrochloride: A Lifesaving Medication

Understanding Naloxone Hydrochloride

Key Information on Indications, Contraindications, and Administration

  • Presentation: Naloxone hydrochloride is available in ampules containing 400 micrograms per 1 ml ampoule.
  • Indications: It is used for opioid overdoses, which can lead to respiratory, cardiovascular, and central nervous system depression.
  • Reversal Capability: Naloxone hydrochloride can reverse overdoses caused by opioid analgesics like codeine or compound analgesics such as co-codamol.
  • Contraindications: Avoid using naloxone hydrochloride in neonates born to opioid-addicted mothers due to the risk of severe withdrawal effects.
  • Focus on Ventilation and Oxygenation: In all cases, prioritize bag valve ventilation and oxygenation.
  • Considerations for Physically Dependent Patients: Physically dependent patients may experience violent withdrawal symptoms, including cardiac dysrhythmias, when given naloxone. Titrate the dose effectively to reverse depression while monitoring the patient's condition.
  • Administration: Naloxone should be administered via IV whenever possible. If IV access is not achievable, it may be administered intramuscularly, undiluted, into the outer aspect of the thigh or upper arm, but absorption may be less predictable in this route.
  • Short-Lived Effects: Naloxone's effects are brief, and once they wear off, respiratory and cardiovascular depression can recur, potentially leading to fatal consequences.
  • Transport to Hospital: Regardless of the initial response to naloxone, all opioid overdose cases should be transported to the hospital for further evaluation and care.