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Health Minister Jane Philpott has authorized naloxone nasal spray for non-prescription use.

Hand-out/Adapt Pharma

Health Minister Jane Philpott has authorized naloxone nasal spray for non-prescription use to help prevent deaths from opioid overdoses.

Naloxone, sold under the brand name Narcan, can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose if used promptly.

Monday's move follows an interim order by Philpott in July that allowed naloxone nasal spray to be imported from the U.S. Only the injectable version of the drug had been approved in Canada.

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The nasal spray is considered easier to administer than the injectable version, especially for those who aren't trained health-care professionals.

Health Canada says the nasal spray's manufacturer can now take the necessary steps to officially bring the product to market in Canada.

Until then, the U.S.-approved product will continue to be available in Canada to avoid interruption in supply.

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