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Understanding Naloxone Dosing: A Comprehensive Guide For Adults

Naloxone dose in adults are given for possible opioid overdose. There are two forms of Naloxone that anyone can use without medical training or authorization: prefilled nasal spray and injectable. It’s no exaggeration to say that Naloxone is a lifesaving drug. In March 2023, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Naloxone for OTC use. This means Naloxone is now purchasable without a prescription.

This article explores the Naloxone dose in adults, how much to use, its potency, and instructions on administering it. Read on!

What is the typical Naloxone dose in adults?

The amount of Naloxone dose in adults varies. The typical Naloxone dosage comes in two forms: nasal spray & injections.

Naloxone Nasal Spray

  • For all naloxone nasal spray products, the typical dosage is one spray in one nostril.
  • Available products include:
    • Narcan 4 mg (OTC)
    • RiVive 3 mg (OTC as of early 2024)
    • Kloxxado 8 mg (prescription only)
    • Rextovy 4 mg (prescription only)
  • Each nasal spray bottle contains a single dose. If the person doesn’t respond within 2-3 minutes, administer a second dose in the other nostril.
  • Repeat every 2-3 minutes, alternating nostrils, until the person responds or emergency medical help arrives.

Naloxone Injections

  • The typical injectable Naloxone dosage ranges from 0.4 mg to 2 mg. It comes in a vial with a single dose.
  • Just like with nasal sprays, you can give the injectable Naloxone dose in adults every 2 to 3 minutes until the person responds, starts breathing again, or until medical help arrives.

What is the Naloxone dosage for children?

Kids and grown-ups get the same amount of Naloxone nasal spray: one squirt in one nostril.

For the injectable kind, the dose depends on the child’s weight. It’s 0.1 milligrams per kilogram (kg) of weight.

So, if a kid weighs 20 kilograms (about 44 pounds), they’d get 2 milligrams (mg) in total—two shots of 1 mg each.

You can use one syringe to measure the whole dose. But you’ve got to give it as two shots in two different places, like one in each leg. If the child doesn’t get better within 2 to 3 minutes after getting Naloxone, you can give them another dose. Put one spray in the other nostril. Keep doing this every 2 to 3 minutes, switching nostrils.

Will Naloxone work for other types of drug overdose?

Naloxone only helps with overdoses from opioid drugs. These are medicines like painkillers (such as OxyContin, fentanyl, methadone, and Vicodin) and street drugs like heroin.

But naloxone won’t work if someone overdoses on drugs that aren’t opioids, like cocaine, benzodiazepines (“benzos”), or alcohol. Always talk to your doctor if you’re unsure.

Why adults should consume Naloxone?

Naloxone saves lives. In 2019, almost 50,000 people died from overdosing on opioids. Research shows that in more than one out of three opioid overdoses, there were people nearby who could have helped. With naloxone, anyone can step in during an overdose and possibly save a life.

Who should consider having Naloxone?

If you or someone you know might overdose on opioids, especially those struggling with opioid use disorder (OUD), it’s important to have naloxone nearby. This includes people who take strong opioid painkillers (like those equal to or more than 50 morphine milligram equivalents per day), people who use opioids and benzodiazepines together, and those who use illegal opioids like heroin.

Since you can’t use naloxone on yourself, make sure others know you have it in case you overdose on opioids. Having Naloxone is similar to carrying an EpiPen for allergies. It’s an extra safety measure for those at risk of overdose.

In almost 40% of overdose deaths, someone was around the victim. Having Naloxone on hand means those bystanders can step in and save a life.

What should you do if Naloxone isn’t working?

If you’ve given several doses of Naloxone but it’s not helping, the person might not have opioids in their system. They could have overdosed on a different substance or be facing a medical crisis not related to drugs.

After using Narcan, always call 911 immediately. This guarantees that medical help is on its way. Paramedics can figure out if it’s an opioid overdose or another urgent situation.

What factors can influence Naloxone dose in adults?

For some individuals, one application of Naloxone nasal spray may effectively counteract an opioid overdose. Others may require multiple doses of Naloxone, given every 2–3 minutes, to revive them.

Several factors can affect the number of Naloxone doses needed to treat an overdose, including:

● Amount of opioids ingested

Higher opioid doses, such as those from potent opioids or multiple pills, may necessitate more Naloxone doses to reverse their effects.

● Type of opioids consumed

Certain opioids like buprenorphine (Subutex) or tramadol (Ultram) might require more Naloxone doses for overdose treatment.

● Age of the individual

Children’s bodies may metabolize Naloxone differently from adults.

Naloxone typically comes in a package containing two single-dose nasal spray devices. Consult your pharmacist to determine how many doses of Naloxone you should have available.

FAQs: Naloxone Dose in Adults

1. Is it possible to overdose on Nalxone?

Naloxone is safe. Giving it to someone who isn’t overdosing on opioids won’t hurt them. Signs of an overdose may include tiny, narrowed pupils.

2. Should you keep Naloxone at your home?

Yes, if you or someone you know might overdose on opioids, it’s a good idea to keep naloxone at home. It can save lives during an overdose.

3. How much does Naloxone cost?

The cost for a naloxone injectable solution (0.4 mg/mL) is around $61 for a supply of 10 milliliters, depending on the pharmacy you visit.

4. What should I avoid while using Naloxone?

Avoid leaving a person alone after giving him or her a naloxone dose. An overdose can impair a person’s thinking or reactions.

5. What other drugs will affect Naloxone?

Naloxone can be affected by different drugs, like ones you get with a prescription, those you buy without one, vitamins, and natural products. Ensure your doctor knows all the medicines you’re taking, even if you start or stop them later.


Naloxone, also known as Narcan, is a medicine that can save lives by reversing opioid overdoses. You can get it as a spray or an injection. For adults and children, give one spray of naloxone into one nostril. Naloxone dose in adults as an injection into the muscle or under the skin, with a dose between 0.4 mg and 2 mg.

If you think someone is overdosing on opioids, use naloxone right away if you have it. Keep giving naloxone every 2 to 3 minutes until the person starts responding. Remember, even if naloxone works, it still needs medical attention.

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