According to researchers in Southwestern Ontario, the opioid overdose antidote naloxone, below freezing then stuck in a hot car, is safe and effective to use even after it has been stored at different temperatures, this up to four weeks. As public health officials and the police are trying to make the growing tide of overdose deaths in the region stop, this is a crucial finding.
Naloxone, the emergency medication that blocks the effects of opioid overdoses, has been found by researchers at the University of Waterloo and it is safe and stable to use even though it has been exposed to cold and heat, at least 28 days after that.
According to Michael Beazely, a Waterloo pharmacy professor, this finding is important because this is a drug that is being stored by people in various ways, rarely indoors or in a medicine cabinet. These type of kits that you can take home and use during emergencies are often carried in cars and bags.
Opioid overdose antidote naloxone is still effective at 80 degrees Celsius and minus 20 degrees Celsius
The conditions of winter and summer simulated by Beazely’s, storing naloxone at 80 degrees C then bringing its temperature back to room temperature and then plunging it -20 degrees C and then letting it warm to 4 degrees C helped this experiment.
The temperatures between which naloxone should be stored are between 15 degrees C and 20 degrees C. The impact of the temperature swings has been studied by researchers on the stability of the drug for up to four weeks. Kits of this drug can be found at Ontario pharmacies since 2016, and they are free.
“We found that naloxone hydrochloride remains chemically stable following exposure to heat or freeze-thaw cycles after 28 days,” said Beazely. “If take-home naloxone kits are stored in non-standard conditions (for up to 28 days) the active naloxone is likely to remain stable, and the medication will be effective when used, particularly in an emergency.”