The naloxone nasal spray was developed by Daniel Wermeling, a professor at the University of Kentucky's College of Pharmacy Practice and Science, through his start-up company AntiOp Inc. Even if a patient has stopped breathing, the spray delivers a consistent dose, absorbed across the nasal membranes.
"The goal is to make the medication available to patients at high risk of opioid overdose, and to caregivers, including family members, who may lack specialized medical training," Wermeling said. "The treatment could be given in anticipation of EMS arrival, advancing the continuum of care and ultimately saving lives."
Kentucky has been hit hard by prescription drug and heroin overdoses, with 230 heroin overdose deaths in 2013 - up 60 percent from the year before. The need for greater naloxone access, as well as a more user friendly method of implementation, is important.
"Too many Kentucky families have experienced the tragedy of seeing a loved one's life cut short by a drug overdose," said University of Kentucky president, Eli Capilouto. "The epidemic of opioid abuse in our state presents an enormous and urgent challenge, not only for health care providers and law enforcement, but also for us here at the University of Kentucky. Dr. Wermeling's project is putting a powerful new tool into the hands of those on the front line of the fight against heroin, both here in Kentucky and beyond. This type of innovation embodies the three main components of the university's mission -- education, research and, above all, service."
You can watch a short video on how the device works:
If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can see it here.