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New Drug Delivery System Could Aid Fight Against Heroin Overdoses


    A drug designed to reduce heroin related overdoses has received a makeover.  A year from now, a prescription for Naloxone may come in the form of a nasal spray.

The most common method of using heroin is through injection.  Until recently, the same could be said for administering Naloxone.  It's a drug that can prevent an overdose death if delivered within a certain amount of time.  University of Kentucky Pharmacy Practice and Science Professor Daniel Wermeling has developed a nasal application of the anti-opioid drug.  "When we look at other drugs that have been developed as an injection, it's usually a needle free system that was approved afterwards that actually becomes more adopted by the public," said Wermeling.

In addition to heroin addicts, Wermeling says the Naloxone spray could help put a stop to accidental overdoses in patients treated for pain.  He envisions doctors prescribing the anti-opioid spray with pain medication for at risk patients. 

Wermeling believes the easier nasal spray delivery method will not enable heroin addicts.  "They don't use this as a way to enable them to abuse more drugs.  In fact, it's already be published, it shows that if we give people Naloxone, it doesn't influence what people do because the drivers for drug use isn't.  They don't think like you and I do.  Their minds are in a totally different place," added Wermeling.

Catherine Martin, Director of UK's Division for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry would like to see Wermeling involved in the new adolescent health, recovery, and treatment training grant program.  "I want Doctor Wermeling's ideas on how to get this product out to families in the state. And I'm inviting him to be part of the adolescent treatment team."

If the FDA approves, Wermeling says the nasal spray Naloxone could be commercially available by prescription in about a year.?

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