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Fentanyl - Uses - Dosages - Side Effects - Precautions

Fentanyl: Frequently Asked Questions Answered

What is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid analgesic (pain killer). It works by binding to opioid receptors in the brain, to reduce pain and regulate emotions. It eventually activates the dopamine receptors, which causes hyperexcitation, happiness and animated effects, leading to addiction. Even at very modest doses, it is a more potent analgesic than morphine.

What are the uses of fentanyl?

Fentanyl is mainly used to relieve preoperative analgesia (pain) and moderate to severe postoperative pain.

It is also used as a sedative in intubated patients. It is also used to treat the pain associated with kidney diseases and cancer.

The drug is used as an adjunct to local and general anesthesia, and also used along with epileptic drugs (a class of medicines used to treat fits) to induce neuroleptanalgesia (a potent sedative and analgesic effect). 

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What are the side effects of fentanyl?

The side effects of fentanyl include:

  • Euphoria
  • Confusion 
  • Drowsiness 
  • Visual disturbance
  • Delirium (a condition in which a person experiences hallucinations)

In serious cases, it can lead to respiratory depression, muscle rigidity, constipation, loss of consciousness, coma, and death.

Alcohol and other recreational drugs produce synergistic effects, leading to clinical complications. 

Fentanyl is a prescription drug with a high potential for abuse and addiction. Do not take this medicine without a doctor’s prescription. 

 

Frequently Asked Questions about Fentanyl

1. Is fentanyl an opiate?

Yes, fentanyl is a synthetic opioid with high potency. Opiates are substances that can act on the opioid receptors of the brain to produce morphine-like effects. It is also a highly potent drug since 10 micrograms of the drug can cause similar analgesia to that produced by 10 milligrams of morphine.

2. How do people use fentanyl?

Fentanyl is only given with a doctor's prescription. It can be given intravenously, intramuscularly, and as transdermal skin and mucosal patches and nasal sprays. Unauthenticated and unmonitored use of this drug must be strictly avoided as it can lead to serious side effects.

3. How does fentanyl affect the brain?

Fentanyl affects the opioid and dopamine receptors in the brain, producing analgesia and euphoric effects. The drug can also cause hyperexcitation, happiness, and addiction.

4. Can you overdose on fentanyl?

Clinically, the action of fentanyl is increased by the concomitant use of certain medications like macrolide antibiotics and azole antifungals, as these drugs increase the plasma concentration of fentanyl. An overdose of fentanyl may result in the worsening of fentanyl-related side effects, such as hypotension, respiratory depression, coma, and death.

5. How can a fentanyl overdose be treated?

A fentanyl overdose can be treated with a continuous supply of oxygen. An opioid antagonist like Naloxone is given as an intravenous or intramuscular injection. The procedure should be repeated until the patient's vitals are stable.

6. Can fentanyl use lead to addiction?

Yes, continuous use of the drug can lead to addiction since the drug activates the brain receptors and produces euphoric effects. Abrupt discontinuation of this medicine may increase the risk of withdrawal symptoms, including severe cravings, uncontrolled body movements, sleep problems, cold flashes, and goosebumps.

7. How is fentanyl addiction treated?

Fentanyl addiction can be treated by cognitive behavioral modification therapy, personalized motivational classes, and medications. Buprenorphine and methadone are drugs that bind to similar receptors in the brain as fentanyl. Hence, these drugs can reduce the craving and withdrawal symptoms of the patient.

8. What should I know about the storage and disposal of this medication?

The medication should be stored in a cool place, away from sunlight. Keep child safety solutions in mind and limit access to children and others in your house. Don't store medicines or patches that haven't been used completely. Once the drug has been used, discard the patches.

9. What special precautions should I follow while taking fentanyl?

  • Speak with your doctor about your current medications since certain drugs like antihistamines, benzodiazepines, carbamazepine, dexamethasone, etc. may interact with fentanyl and increase your risk of undesired side effects.
  • Inform your doctor if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy before taking this drug, as the drug may cause fertility issues.
  • Avoid too much heat while you are using the patches, as heat can affect the drug release.
  • Avoid driving as it can cause drowsiness.
  • This medicine may increase your risk of constipation. Your doctor may prescribe laxatives to provide symptomatic relief.

10. Is fentanyl a narcotic?

Yes, fentanyl is a narcotic analgesic (pain medicine). It relieves pain by acting on the central nervous system (CNS).

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Disclaimer: The information provided herein is accurate, updated and complete as per the best practices of the Company. Please note that this information should not be treated as a replacement for physical medical consultation or advice. We do not guarantee the accuracy and the completeness of the information so provided. The absence of any information and/or warning to any drug shall not be considered and assumed as an implied assurance of the Company. We do not take any responsibility for the consequences arising out of the aforementioned information and strongly recommend you for a physical consultation in case of any queries or doubts.

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