3 US health companies launch program to get patients overdose reversal drug to take home

3 US health companies launch program to get patients overdose reversal drug to take home

Companies offer nasal spray containing opioid antagonist at no cost to high-risk overdose patients

TORONTO (AA) - Three US health companies said Thursday they joined forces to launch a new program to allow patients to take home an overdose reversal drug amid increasing numbers of deaths.

The initiative by HIKMA Pharmaceuticals, Hackensack Meridian Health (HMH) and the non-profit Dispensary of Hope aims to counter the surge in opioid overdose fatalities by distributing Kloxxado naloxone HCl Nasal Spray 8 mg at no cost to patients who are at high risk of suffering an overdose.

Kloxxado contains naloxone, a direly-needed drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration for over-the-counter sales to combat opioid overdoses.

The trio of organizations are seeking to have the medicine available to those who might not otherwise have access to the drug and who are at heightened risk of an overdose.

A report published by the Lancet journal suggests that more than 1.2 million Americans will die in this decade from opioid overdoses.

The ongoing surge in overdose deaths is primarily fueled by illegally produced synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, which are 50 times more potent than heroin and may demand higher doses of naloxone for reversal, according to the report.

Another study in 2022 revealed that 78% of all overdose reversals necessitated a minimum of at least 8 mg of naloxone.

Initiated in May 2023, the pilot program's goal is to distribute 2,500 doses of Kloxxado in the US.

Fentanyl is estimated to be between 50 to 100 times as powerful as morphine, and overdose deaths related to the synthetic opioid continue to rise. That includes a 56% increase from 2019 to 2020, according to the latest data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC's provisional data indicates that deaths have further accelerated in the intervening years.

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