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The recently approved Evzio is a prescription treatment that patients' family members or caregivers can use to treat opioid overdoses.
The medication, naloxone hydrochloride, is delivered through a handheld auto-injector.
While naloxone has been used for several decades by first responders and hospitals to treat prescription overdoses, Evzio is the first such remedy available outside of a health care setting, the Food and Drug Administration said earlier this month.
Richmond, Va.-based manufacturer Kaleo Inc. said it expects Evzio to be available this summer to patients who have a physician's prescription.
But Evzio can have significant side effects. Patients injected with Evzio could experience immediate withdrawal symptoms, such as increased respiration and heart rate, severe anxiety or convulsions, said Brian Carpenter, Tucson, Ariz.-based vice president of pharmacy product at Coventry Workers' Comp Services.
Evzio is “for that emergency situation where you either give it or the person dies,” said Dr. Teresa Bartlett, Troy, Mich.-based medical director at Sedgwick Claims Management Services Inc.
A powerful opioid painkiller recently released to the market is raising concerns among workers compensation experts as the insurance industry continues to struggle with opioid addiction and abuse among injured workers.