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What is Narcan and why was it used on Demi Lovato after her suspected overdose?

The 25-year-old singer was found unresponsive at her home

Chloe Best

Demi Lovato was reportedly given a dose of Narcan after being found unresponsive following a suspected overdose on Tuesday. But what is the medication and why would it have been used on the singer?

What is Narcan?

Narcan is a branded medication of Naxolone, an emergency antidote given to people who have overdosed on opiods like heroin. While a person's breathing can slow down or even stop when they have overdosed, the emergency medication helps to counteract this by blocking the opiods from the opiate receptors in the brain.  

How is Narcan used for an overdose?

While Narcan is a nasal spray that can immediately restore normal breathing in someone who has overdosed, Naloxone can also be given by an injection in the arm, thigh or buttocks, acting in a similar way that an EpiPen does for someone suffering an anaphylactic shock.

MORE: Demi Lovato's rep releases a statement surrounding overdose rumours

In some cases, naloxone doesn't work on the first injection, meaning the patient may require CPR and an additional dose. Even if a person appears alert after having a dose of Narcan it's important to get anyone who may have overdosed into hospital for further treatment and monitoring.

Why was Narcan used to treat Demi Lovato?

Demi Lovato was admitted to hospital in Los Angeles on Tuesday after suffering what was thought to be a drug overdose, according to reports by TMZ. Sources reportedly told the news site that the singer had been treated with Narcan at her home, which would have been effective had she overdosed on an opioid like heroin as initially reported. However, it still remains unclear what caused the emergency, as Demi's representatives have issued a statement saying that some of the reports were incorrect.

The statement, as told to Variety, reads: "Demi is awake and with her family who want to express thanks to everyone for the love, prayers and support. Some of the information being reported is incorrect and they respectfully ask for privacy and not speculation as her health and recovery is the most important thing right now."

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