Continuous infusion of naloxone in the treatment of narcotic overdose

Drug Intell Clin Pharm. 1981 Dec;15(12):945-50. doi: 10.1177/106002808101501205.


Based on the pharmacokinetic parameters of naloxone and the clinical studies discussed in this paper, it is evident that naloxone infusion may be useful in cases of opiate overdose. The infusion protocol presented in Appendix I was formulated based on the pharmacokinetic data available from the literature including Nelson's animal data. An infusion of naloxone was used with apparent success in the two cases presented. Both patients presented with narcotic overdose; although immediate patient history could not be obtained, the presentations were classic for narcotic overdose. It is of note that it may be possible to keep a patient from relapsing into narcosis after overdose by the use of naloxone infusion. Additionally, the extreme safety of naloxone is certainly an advantage with any administration technique. We feel that the administration of continuous infusion of naloxone is an especially important advance in the overdose treatment of longer-acting agents such as methadone, as well as of other narcotics. Therefore, it is recommended that further clinical trials of naloxone by infusion be undertaken, as suggested by J. Nelson, et al. (A protocol for treatment with continuous infusion of naloxone [Narcan] in selected cases of opiate [narcotic] overdose. Austin: University of Texas; May, 1976, unpublished), to further document the effectiveness of an infusion of naloxone in narcotic overdose.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infusions, Parenteral
  • Kinetics
  • Naloxone / administration & dosage*
  • Naloxone / metabolism
  • Naloxone / pharmacology
  • Narcotics / poisoning*


  • Narcotics
  • Naloxone