Family, friends or passersby who encounter a person passed out from a heroin or other opioid overdose may soon be able to administer a drug to reverse the effects themselves before waiting for first responders to arrive. The US Food and Drug Administration announced on Thursday the approval of an auto-injector device, called Evzio, to administer naloxone hydrochloride. It can be carried in a pocket or stored in a medicine cabinet and will be available by prescription this summer.
“This is an extremely important innovation that will save lives,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg said in announcing the approval.
It comes a week after Governor Deval Patrick declared a public health emergency to combat the growing abuse of opiates and recent spike in heroin deaths in the state; his declaration allows police and other emergency personnel to carry Narcan, a form of naloxone administered as an injection or formulated into a nasal spray (which is not FDA approved).