Health Canada OK's non-prescription nasal spray overdose antidote

Health Canada has authorized non-prescription use of naloxone nasal spray to temporarily reverse opioid overdoses.

Needle-free nasal spray easier to administer

The nasal spray version of naloxone was developed by Adapt Pharma, a Dublin-based company that markets the product under the brand name Narcan. (Adapt Pharma)

Canadians will now be able to acquire naloxone nasal spray without a prescription, Health Canada says.

Health Minister Jane Philpott authorized the nasal spray, which works to temporarily reverse a potentially fatal opioid overdose, after an expedited review, the department said in a release on Monday.

The needle-free nasal spray is easy to administer and ensures that anyone can reverse an opioid overdose and save lives within a few minutes, said Dublin-based Adapt Pharma. The company intends to market the product in Canada. 

Health Canada said more information on when the newly approved product will be available will be provided "in the near future."

Health Canada says the nasal spray's manufacturer can now take the steps needed to officially bring the product to market in Canada. Until then, the U.S.-approved product will continue to be available in Canada to avoid interruption in supply.

The interim order called the authorization "an emergency public health measure in response to the current opioid crisis."

With files from The Canadian Press