Naloxone could be used past expiration date, new study finds

Extended shelf life would be welcome amid opioid epidemic

Researchers have discovered that two widely used naloxone products could be chemically stable well past their expiration dates.

A research team evaluated the chemical stability of the naloxone nasal spray Narcan and the naloxone injection Evzio beyond their 18-month to 2-year shelf-life. Using USP adopted chromatographic methods, the researchers assessed the therapeutic content and degradation impurities of the two products. They found that Narcan can be chemically stable for at least 10 months past its labeled expiration date, and Evzio can be used beyond 1 year of the expiration date.

The study’s principal investigator, Charles Babcock, PharmD, CDE, BCACP, assistant professor at Marshall University School of Pharmacy, said in a press release: “The country is experiencing an opioid epidemic and given the continued increase in opioid overdoses our preliminary data suggests that extending the shelf life of these products should aid in avoiding the significant expense of replacing them every two years and also increase the availability of this life-saving medication in both stockpiles and communities.”

The research team from Marshall University School of Pharmacy and Appalachian College of Pharmacy plans to conduct extensive, longer-term stability studies for the next stage of the research.

The research was presented this week at the 2018 American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) PharmSci 360 Annual Meeting in Washington, DC.