Naloxone (Narcan)

  • Description and indication for use

    Naloxone Hydrochloride is a pure competitive opiate antagonist with little or no agonist activity. It is used for the complete reversal of narcotic-induced respiratory and CNS depression in the newborn infant.


    Do not give to infants of narcotic dependent mothers.

    IV and IM:

    0.1 mg/kg/dose - repeat as necessary.

    IV infusion:

    0.01 mg/kg/hr – titrated to response since its action is shorter than most opioids.


    Ampoule = 0.4 mg in 1 mL (400 micrograms in 1 mL).

    IV or IM STAT:

    Withdraw ordered dose, no dilution required.

    IV infusion: 

    Withdraw ordered dose and make up to ordered volume of infusion fluid, either Sodium Chloride 0.9% or Glucose 5%.                   

    Route and method of administration

    Give IV or IM.


    Give over 1 minute.

    Side effects

    Side effects are rare and are most likely to occur if an acute withdrawal syndrome is precipitated in infants of narcotic dependent mothers. 

    These symptoms include, tachycardia, tachypnoea, tremors, elevated blood pressure, vomiting and lethargy.

    Special precautions

    CAUTION in patients with tachycardia.


    Known hypersensitivity to Naloxone.

    Infants of narcotic dependent mothers (may precipitate acute withdrawal syndrome).

    Infants with no respiratory depression or with respiratory/CNS depression from a non-narcotic cause.


    Naloxone must not be mixed together with alkaline solutions, eg. Sodium Bicarbonate.

    Nursing responsibilities

    Observe infant closely for response to Naloxone.

    Half-life is shorter than that of Morphine, therefore close observation after administration is required to recognise the need for further doses.

Disclaimer:  This Drug information was designed for use by PIPER Neonatal. Whilst great care has been taken to check the information is accurate, it is possible that errors may have been missed. Furthermore, dosage schedules are continually being revised and new side effects recognised. For these reasons, the reader is strongly advised to consult the drug companies' printed information before administering any of the drugs recommended in this book.
Most drugs in this document are appropriate only for specialist use in hospitals.  A number of drugs should only be used in consultation with the appropriate Paediatric subspecialist. 

Note: The electronic version of this guideline is the version currently in use.  Any printed version cannot be assumed to be current. Printed copies of this document are valid for