What Are the Side Effects of Naloxone?
Naloxone has become a blockbuster drug in recent years, since it is one of the few effective ways of stopping an opioid overdose temporarily. Because of its increasing widespread use it is not uncommon to wonder “what are the side effects of naloxone?”
Read on to learn more information about naloxone, it’s uses, benefits, possible side effects, and how to find treatment near you for drug or alcohol addiction.
What is Naloxone?
Naloxone has been used for years to reverse narcotic drugs used to ease pain after surgery, or by emergency room personnel to reverse an opioid overdose. Today, this medication is being prescribed to people who have high-dose or long-term prescriptions for painkillers, to prevent patients with serious or chronic pain from accidentally overdosing. Naloxone is also more often being used by all emergency responders, including police and firefighters, to temporarily stop opioid overdoses while waiting for emergency medical services (EMS) to arrive.
Naloxone binds to opioid receptors before opioids do, effectively stopping an overdose because the brain is not being affected by substances. However, naloxone has a short half-life, so this is a stop-gap measure while waiting for EMS. Still, lawmakers and physicians alike hail naloxone as a “rescue shot,” because it is one of the most effective ways of treating people in the midst of an opioid overdose.
Potential Side Effects of Naloxone
While naloxone allergies are extremely rare and it is not considered addictive, it does cause some side effects. Side effects from naloxone are not common, but they can and do occur, so it is important to know what to look for.
Serious side effects include:
- Changes in blood pressure.
- Rapid heartbeat.
- Nausea or vomiting.
- Shaking, sweating, or withdrawal symptoms (which can become dangerous if untreated).
- Shortness of breath or rapid breathing.
- Irregular heart rate.
Some other, less serious but still negative side effects of naloxone include:
- Dry cough.
- Headache or migraine.
- Agitation or anxiety.
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
People who have taken naloxone and experience these symptoms should inform their doctor. However, it is unlikely that naloxone would be administered without direct oversight from EMS or a doctor.
Naloxone can be injected intravenously or used in a nasal spray. If the person receives naloxone injections, they may experience:
- Pain, burning, or redness at the injection site.
- Hot flashes or facial flushing.
These can be an indication of an allergic reaction or an infection, so it is important to inform medical providers of these problems promptly.
Additionally, people are warned not to take naloxone while drinking alcohol. Because these two substances affect similar areas of the brain, they could potentially enhance each other’s effects in depressing the central nervous system.
Symptoms of Opioid Withdrawal
Most commonly, a person who receives a dose of naloxone will experience withdrawal symptoms. When a person experiences an opioid overdose, they are likely struggling with an addiction to a narcotic substance. Overdose may occur when someone has used larger doses of an opioid drug, used a substance mixed with fentanyl, or used an opioid in combination with another substance like certain medications or alcohol.
Withdrawal symptoms are associated with physical dependence on opioids, but they are not inherently a sign of addiction. However, they are often used as a metric for potential addiction problems.
Opioid withdrawal symptoms induced by naloxone include:
- Nervousness, restlessness, or anxiety.
- Muscle and joint aches and pains.
- Weakness or dizziness.
- Stomach pain.
- Symptoms common to a cold or the flu, including sweating, fever, chills, shaking, and body aches.
- Runny nose.
- Watery eyes.
- Yawning or sneezing.
Naloxone has proven to be a very important drug in overcoming opioid addiction, but it is not the only solution to the problem. Rather, it is one step in a larger course of treatment, which should include detox, rehabilitation, therapy, support groups, and oversight from physicians and therapists. Addiction to opioids is not solved with a single medication taken once; recovery is an ongoing process.
Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment Near Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Making the choice to find help for a drug or alcohol addiction is a brave first step. At Recovery First’s drug addiction treatment center near Fort Lauderdale, Fl, we are ready to help you get on the road to recovery. Our expert team of addiction treatment specialists have decades of experience using effective therapeutic interventions to help people struggling with drug or alcohol addiction.
Call our compassionate and helpful admissions navigators today at to learn more about our different levels of care, answer your questions about how to start rehab admissions, and find out about different options for paying for drug and alcohol rehab. You can also verify if some or all of your treatment will be covered by your insurance by filling out