EVZIO now available in the U.S.

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Photo courtesy Kaleo

Richmond-based Kaleo announced Tuesday that its handheld auto-injector for opioid overdoses is now available. Opioids include pain medicine like hydrocodone (e.g., Vicodin), oxycodone (e.g.,OxyContin, Percocet), morphine and heroin.

The pharmaceutical company received approval for Evzio in April. Evzio is available by prescription to patients, family members or caregivers for suspected opioid overdose.

The product delivers naloxone, a drug usually administered with a syringe to counterattack an overdose. EVZIO uses voice and visual cues to assist users through the injection process.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says deaths from drug overdoses have been rising steadily during the past two decades. Of the 22,810 deaths related to pharmaceutical overdoses in 2011, 74 percent involved opioid pain relievers. An opioid overdose is characterized by decreased breathing or heart rates, or loss of consciousness.

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