The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first-ever nasal spray emergency treatment for opioid overdose on Wednesday.
The spray, developed by privately held Adapt Pharma Ltd, uses naloxone, a drug used to treat opioid overdose for nearly 45 years but approved only in injectable forms.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates opioid overdose led to about 23,500 deaths in the United States in 2013, a four-fold jump from 1999.
A majority of these deaths occur in non-medical settings, stressing the need for user-friendly treatments that can be administered without the help of a medical practitioner, Adapt Chief Executive Seamus Mulligan told Reuters.
The treatment, Narcan, which Adapt plans to launch by January, is expected to have wide coverage under health insurance with affordable co-pays, Mulligan added.
Ireland-based Adapt bought the development and commercialization rights to Narcan from London-based Lightlake Therapeutics Inc in December 2014.
Group purchasers, such as law enforcement, fire fighters, departments of health, local school districts, colleges and universities, and community-based organizations will be able to purchase the spray at a discounted price of $37.50 per 4 mg device, Mulligan said.