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Fentanyl Overdose Reversal Drug Stronger Than Narcan Released

First responders are now equipped with an improved tool to reverse overdoses of fentanyl.

Zimhi—an FDA-approved high-dose naloxone injection—was recently released for the treatment of fentanyl overdoses. This injectable delivers an intramuscular, higher-dose naloxone injection, which is more than Narcan.

Narcan is the generic name for naloxone. It reverses the effects of opioid overdose in spray form. In some instances, Narcan can’t match fentanyl. It was necessary to find a stronger remedy.

US WorldMeds, an American pharmaceutical company, released Zimhi through a press release. They also highlighted a particular event. Charles Pemberton was a clinical counselor and always carried a trauma kit in his truck that included naloxone. When Pemberton saw a driver passed out at a fast-food restaurant drive-thru in front of him, he administered two doses of naloxone, and probably saved that person’s life.

“At that moment, all my training kicked in,” Pemberton said. “It wasn’t until later that I felt relief that I had naloxone on hand.”

Pemberton also said that the holiday season is when substance abuse tends to be discussed. “Make sure to ask questions and listen, but don’t lecture,” Pemberton said.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that opioid overdose deaths continue to rise annually—primarily with fentanyl. In the United States, more than 107,000 Americans died in 2021 from drug overdoses. Most often these were opioid-related. The DEA says that more drug overdoses occur as criminals make fake pills containing fentanyl to mimic other pills.

Adamis Pharmaceuticals Corporation developed Zimhi. It can be used on the fly—rapidly pulling off the cap and inserting the needle into the thigh.

“Naloxone is an opioid antagonist that is used to temporarily reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, namely slowed or stopped breathing,” the U.S. Jerome Adams, Surgeon General said. “Expanding the awareness and availability of this medication is a key part of the public health response to the opioid epidemic. Naloxone is a safe antidote to a suspected overdose and, when given in time, can save a life.”

WJXT News4JAX reports that Zimhi was released because Narcan wasn’t enough to revive people in some cases because opioid overdoses are becoming more challenging.

Patients are receiving only 2 mg of Narcan nasal spray (4 mg). But Zimhi delivers 5 milligrams of naloxone intramuscularly, and as soon as it’s injected, they receive the full 5 mg immediately.

“Fentanyl, over the past year, they’ve come up with different strands of it to where it’s almost 100 times stronger than what the fentanyl was a year ago,” said Chris Chodkowski, a trauma therapist.

“Even the regular people that just smoke marijuana, if they’re getting it off the street, we’re seeing it laced with fentanyl here in Palm Beach County,” Chodkowski said.

Gator DeLoach of Putnam County spoke out about an incident that saw a child touch fentanyl.

“It’s only been within the last few weeks that we had an infant that was exposed to a large dose of fentanyl that we believed was an incidental touch contact from the mother,” DeLoach said. “As a result, our deputies got on the scene, and they had to deliver multiple doses of Narcan.”

FDA-approved drugs provide first responders and caregivers with an easier way to get naloxone for the fentanyl crisis.

Adamis Pharmaceuticals Corporation (NASDAQ: APM) announced that Zimhi was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for opioid overdose treatment. Dr. Jeffrey Galinkin, an anesthesiologist, and former member of the FDA Advisory Committee for Anesthetics, Analgesics and Addiction Products, stated, “I am pleased to see this much needed high dose naloxone product will become part of the treatment tool kit as a countermeasure to the continued surge in fentanyl related deaths. The higher intramuscular doses of naloxone in ZIMHI should result in more rapid and higher levels of naloxone in the systemic circulation, which in turn, should result in more successful resuscitations.”

  • Benjamin M. Adams

    Benjamin M. Adams works as a Staff Writer for Chronic News. His writings have appeared in Vice, Forbes and HuffPost. Southern New Hampshire University awarded him a Bachelor in Communication.

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