FDA approves prescription nasal spray to reverse opioid overdose

May 23, 2023
Nalmefene hydrochloride product in nasal spray form provides additional tool for harm reduction groups and first responders.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Opvee, the nalmefene hydrochloride nasal spray for the emergency treatment of known or suspected opioid overdose in adults and pediatric patients 12 years of age and older.

Nalmefene is an opioid receptor antagonist which is used to treat acute opioid overdose. If nalmefene is administered quickly, it can reverse the effects of opioid overdose, including respiratory depression, sedation and low blood pressure (i.e., hypotension). The newly approved product, which delivers 2.7 milligrams (mg) of nalmefene into the nasal cavity, is available by prescription and is intended for use in health care and community settings.

The approval of Opvee was supported by safety and pharmacokinetic studies, as well as a study in people who use opioids recreationally to assess how quickly the drug works. The most common adverse reactions include nasal discomfort, headache, nausea, dizziness, hot flush, vomiting, anxiety, fatigue, nasal congestion and throat irritation, pain in the nose (rhinalgia), decreased appetite, skin redness (erythema) and excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis).

The use of nalmefene hydrochloride in patients who are opioid-dependent may result in opioid withdrawal characterized by the following signs and symptoms: body aches, diarrhea, fast heart rate (tachycardia), fever, runny nose, sneezing, goosebumps (piloerection), sweating, yawning, nausea or vomiting, nervousness, restlessness or irritability, shivering or trembling, abdominal cramps, weakness and increased blood pressure. 

FDA release

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