FDA approves heroin overdose antidote

The Food and Drug Administration approved a device on Thursday that reverses the effects of overdoses from opioids, including heroin and prescription painkillers.

Called Evzio, the injection-style device administers the drug naloxone.

Naloxone has long been used in ambulances and emergency rooms to treat opioid overdoses. Now Evzio allows caregivers, family members and non-medical personnel to keep naloxone on hand, according to the FDA.

Evzio is injected into the muscle or under the skin. When the device is turned on, verbal instructions tell the user how to deliver the medication.

Evzio is not a substitute for immediate medical care, the FDA says.

Calling products like Evzio "extremely important innovations that will help to save lives," FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, in a statement, added that the broader aim remains to reduce opioid abuse.

More than 16,000 people died in 2010 due to opioid-related overdoses, driven largely by prescription drug overdoses, according to the most recent year for which data was available, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


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