The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday announced that it has approved selling the overdose-reversal drug Narcan without a prescription.
The drug, which is delivered in a nasal spray, can reverse the effects of fentanyl and opioid overdoses.
“Today’s approval of OTC naloxone nasal spray will help improve access to naloxone, increase the number of locations where it’s available and help reduce opioid overdose deaths throughout the country,” FDA Commissioner Robert Califf said in a statement.
Until now, Narcan was only available through a pharmacist or at healthcare centers.
Narcan is a brand name for the drug naloxone. In addition to reversing overdoses of fentanyl, the drug can also help overdoses of street drugs such as heroin.
The FDA’s action will allow the medication to be sold directly to consumers in places like drug stores, convenience stores, grocery stores and gas stations. It could also be sold online.
Before the FDA ruling, a person could get naloxone from a pharmacist without a doctor’s prescription, but that person had to approach a pharmacist and ask for the medication.
It is unclear how much the drug will cost or if insurance would pay for it.
According to the BBC, the FDA and the pharmaceutical company behind Narcan, Emergent BioSolutions, said the drug will likely be available over the counter in a few months.