The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics
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ISSUE
1489
Clarification: Half-Life of Heroin
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Med Lett Drugs Ther. 2016 Feb 29;58(1489):32
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 Select a term to see related articles  Drug abuse   Morphine   Naloxone   Narcan 

A reader expressed concern that a statement in our article Naloxone (Narcan) Nasal Spray for Opioid Overdose (Med Lett Drugs Ther 2016; 58:1) might be misleading. We stated that heroin has a half-life of 2-6 minutes, which is correct, but heroin is a prodrug that is rapidly metabolized to 6-acetylmorphine and morphine. The risk of respiratory depression is related to those active metabolites, and it may persist well beyond the clearance of heroin from the blood.

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