The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Opvee, a new opioid overdose reversal nasal spray for patients at least 12 years of age. The medication, developed by Opiant Pharmaceuticals, was acquired by Indivior in March 2023. Opvee contains nalmefene, an opioid receptor antagonist that reverses opioid-induced respiratory depression within 2.5 to 5 minutes, with full recovery of respiratory drive as early as 5 minutes after administration.
Opioid overdose is a significant public health crisis in the United States. In 2021, more than 107,000 people died from drug overdoses in the U.S., the vast majority of which involved opioids. (NPR)
Most deaths were due to synthetic opioids like fentanyl. Naloxone, the current standard treatment for opioid overdose, is a life-saving medication that can quickly reverse the effects of an overdose. However, naloxone is only effective if administered within minutes of the overdose. If naloxone is not administered quickly enough, the person may die.
Opvee is a longer-acting version of naloxone. It can be administered up to 90 minutes after an overdose, giving first responders and bystanders more time to get the person to medical attention. Opvee is also more effective than naloxone at reversing the effects of synthetic opioids like fentanyl.
The approval of Opvee is a significant step forward in the fight against the opioid overdose epidemic. The medication provides a new option for first responders and bystanders to save lives. Opvee is expected to be more effective than naloxone at reversing the effects of synthetic opioids, which are responsible for the vast majority of opioid overdose deaths.
Read more about opioids here.
Below, we have laid out some general Questions and Answers regarding Opvee.
How does Opvee work?
Opvee works by blocking the effects of opioids in the brain. Opioids bind to opioid receptors in the brain, signaling the body to slow breathing. Opvee blocks these receptors, which prevents opioids from slowing down breathing. This allows the person to breathe normally again.
How is Opvee administered?
Opvee is administered as a nasal spray. The spray contains 2.7 milligrams of nalmefene. The spray is administered into one nostril. The person should be sitting or lying down when the spray is administered.
How long does Opvee last?
Opvee can last up to 90 minutes. It can be administered up to 90 minutes after an overdose.
What are the side effects of Opvee?
The most common side effects of Opvee are nausea, vomiting, and headache. Other side effects may include dizziness, anxiety, and sweating.
Is Opvee safe?
Opvee is safe for most people. However, it is not safe for people who are pregnant or breastfeeding. It is also unsafe for people allergic to nalmefene or any of the ingredients in Opvee.
Where can I get Opvee?
Opvee is available by prescription only. It can be obtained from a doctor or pharmacist.
How much does Opvee cost?
The cost of Opvee will vary depending on the dosage and the pharmacy where it is purchased. However, it is expected to be more expensive than naloxone.
Overall, Opvee is a promising new tool for the fight against the opioid epidemic. It is easy to use, fast-acting, and safe. However, it is also expensive and may not be available in all pharmacies. Only time will tell how effective Opvee will be in saving lives.