A stage two resource alert has been issued to support providers of NHS-funded care to minimise the risk of distress and death caused by inappropriate doses of naloxone.
The alert highlights a number of resources now available to help providers ensure their local protocols and training related to naloxone reflect best practice. These resources have been developed in response to a previous alert issued in November 2014 to raise awareness of the risk.
Whilst naloxone use can be life-saving in respiratory depression and respiratory arrest, inappropriate doses of naloxone can cause a rapid reversal of the physiological effects of long-term opioids or opiates used for pain control, leading to intense pain and distress, and acute withdrawal syndrome. This can lead to hypertension, cardiac arrhythmias, pulmonary oedema and cardiac arrest.