The misuse of drugs is an ever-increasing pandemic that all too often ends in a death. The treatment for a drug overdose has always been in the hands of police departments and healthcare professionals. That has now changed. The FDA approved the first drug-delivery device that is designed for civilians to administer an antidote to victims of a drug overdose.
The device is called Evzio and it is a credit-card sized dispenser, which contains a needle, that is used to administer the antidote drug, called Naloxone, to someone who has suffered a drug overdose.
The FDA has described the device as working similarly to an automated defibrillator; when switched on, Evzio gives the user verbal instructions on how to inject naloxone in a victim. The device even comes with a trainer device which lacks a needle and medicine. That devoce can be used as a test kit so that people can practice with it, to enable them to get familiar with the process before they use the full working product. However, the FDA does note that while Naloxone does help counteract the effects of an overdose from opioids such as heroin, it is not a substitute for medical care.
There is no advice on just how much Evzio will cost when it finally becomes available to the public. That is partly because the consumer price for Naloxone has yet to be decided upon. The AP has reported that the device’s manufacturer; Kaléo is currently in talks with health insurance providers to gain a broader coverage for Naloxone. Kaléo has also made the claim that Naloxone may act as a treatment for other types of drug overdose.
FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg wrote in a statement that rather than Evzio being a solution to a public health crisis, it should be seen as a tool to help people who could eventually receive more treatment for addiction. “While the larger goal is to reduce the need for products like these by preventing opioid addiction and abuse…they are extremely important innovations that will help to save lives.”
Not everyone is convinced. The lawmakers have reservations about Naloxone being accessible to everyone. Maine Governor Paul LePage vetoed a bill in 2013 that would have let healthcare professionals prescribe Naloxone to families and caregivers of drug addicts so they could dispense it during emergencies. He claimed it would provide “a false sense of security that abusers are somehow safe if they have a prescription nearby.”
What do you think? As always, if you would like to leave a sensible comment, then please do so in the comments section below.
[Image via Forbes]