Fentanyl is a potent synthetic opioid It has intense analgesic effects and its action is similar to that of other opioids such as morphine wave heroin, the difference is that fentanyl is approximately 100 times more powerful than morphine and 50 times stronger than heroin. In fact, it is the most potent opioid analgesic available in the market for clinical use in the treatment of pain.
Although fentanyl is considered safe and effective when used and controlled in a medical setting, it carries a high risk of abuse potential.
- 1 What is fentanyl
- 2 Clinical uses of fentanyl
- 3 Abuse of fentanyl
- 4 side effects
- 5 Risks
- 6 Overdose
What is fentanyl
Fentanyl is a very effective synthetic opioid to relieve moderate or severe chronic pain. This substance binds to the opioid receptors of the body, increasing the levels of dopamine in the Central Nervous System. The increase in dopamine produces a state of relaxation, relieves pain, decreases the perception of suffering and promotes a sense of well-being (euphoria).
It is used in medicine to control pain during surgery; It is also used to treat symptoms of chronic pain in various conditions such as cancer.
Fentanyl depresses the respiratory centers, the cough reflex and contracts the pupils. It acts in a few minutes relieving pain and producing sedation. But its effect is of short duration, between 30 to 90 minutes.
This substance affects each person differently. Its effects depend on weight, height, general health, dose, etc. On the other hand, if fentanyl is taken in combination with other drugs, the effects can be greatly enhanced.
The difference between a therapeutic dose and a fatal dose of fentanyl, Unfortunately,it is very small. In addition, there are many illegal fentanyl analogues and derivatives that are much stronger than the prescription version.
Some consumers often take fentanyl as a heroin substitute.
Clinical uses of fentanyl
Fentanyl was first synthesized by Paul Janssen in 1960 after studying elements analogous to pethidine, a substance with opioid activity. It was thereafter that the use of fentanyl in medicine became widespread, in the form of fentanyl citrate, as a general anesthetic. After this, many other fentanyl analogs were developed and introduced into medical practice, including sufentanil, alfentanil, remifentanil and carfentanil.
In the mid-1990s, fentanyl was first marketed as a palliative treatment of patch-shaped pain, whose trade name is Duragesic. Then, in the following decade, the first fast-acting fentanyl prescription formulas for personal use were introduced. Since 2012, fentanyl has been the most widely used synthetic opioid in clinical practice with several new methods of administration now available as pills, oral injections or sublingual spray.
In the clinic it can also be taken intravenously, intramuscularly, spinally or epidurally (in a space at the bottom of the spinal cord).
For continuous administration, fentanyl is usually administered through a transdermal patch that adheres to the skin. The patch works by slowly releasing this substance through the skin into the bloodstream for 48-72 hours.
Because it has already been absorbed through the skin, fentanyl can continue to be effective for 13-24 hours after the patch is removed.
The fentanyl analogues, designer drugs almost identical to the original, can be manufactured and mixed with heroin or replaced by it. Because fentanyl and its analogues are incredibly potent even heroin, there is a greatly increased risk of overdose and death.
Medication outside of clinical practice is usually obtained by diverting or subtracting medical supplies, or it can be manufactured in illegal laboratories.
Discarded fentanyl patches may still contain significant amounts of the drug. It is for this reason that consumers can take advantage to eliminate the gel content of the discarded patches and eat it, place it under the tongue, smoke it or even inject it.
Fentanyl analogues produced in illicit laboratories can be hundreds of times more potent than street heroin and tend to produce significantly more respiratory depression, which makes them even more dangerous for users than heroin.
People who consume heroin or cocaine They may not know that the potency of these two drugs can be significantly increased by adding fentanyl, the potential danger of overdose and death being much greater.
Older patients are more likely than younger patients to experience adverse effects, especially respiratory depressive effects. Extreme caution should be taken with this age group.
Physical effects of fentanyl
- Pain relief: in comparison with other opiates, fentanyl is a strong pain reliever that provides relief even at low doses.
- Physical euphoria: its effects are less intense compared to that of the morphine wave diacetylmorphine (heroin). The sensation itself can be described as feelings of intense physical comfort, warmth and joy that extend throughout the body.
- Respiratory depression: compared to other opiates, fentanyl shows this effect at low doses, producing the sensation that breathing slows down slightly to moderately. In high doses and overdose, respiratory depression can cause shortness of breath, abnormal breathing patterns, semi-consciousness or loss of consciousness. Severe overdoses can cause coma or death.
- Sedation: fentanyl is much more sedative than other opiates. Even at moderate doses, this compound can cause overwhelming feelings of sedation and tiredness considerably stronger than heroin and oxycodone.
- Pupillary contraction
- Double vision: at high doses, the eyes blur and refocus without control. This creates a blurry effect and a double vision that is present no matter where you focus your eyes.
- Cough suppression
- Decreased libido
Cognitive cognitive effects
- Cognitive euphoria: The euphoria it produces is less intense than that of morphine or heroin. It is still, however, capable of provoking overwhelming happiness in high doses. Symptoms can be described as a powerful and overwhelming feeling of emotional bliss, satisfaction and happiness.
- Suppression of anxiety symptoms
- Tolerance and addiction
Adverse effects of fentanyl
- Drowsiness and unconsciousness
- Dry mouth
- Difficulty urinating
- Slow breathing
- Decreased heart rate
- Decrease in blood pressure
- Muscular stiffness
- Difficult to focus
- Appetite suppression
Adverse effects associated with transdermal fentanyl patches include redness, rash, itching and swelling at the site of application.
Side effects of addictive fentanyl consumption
- Crying episodes
- Suicide ideas
- Behavior changes
- Anxiety and irritability
As with any opioid, there is a high risk of dependence, tolerance, abuse and addiction with the use of fentanyl. Physical dependence causes withdrawal symptoms when people stop taking the medication abruptly.
Withdrawal symptoms usually begin within 12 hours after the last dose of fentanyl and may last 1 week or more. An individual with withdrawal may experience:
- Dilated pupils
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Runny nose
- Hot and cold flashes
- Severe generalized pain
Fentanyl users quickly develop a high dose tolerance, which means that more medication is needed to achieve the desired effect.
Repeated use of opioids often ends in addiction, a chronic disease that goes beyond physical dependence and is characterized by a uncontrollable drug search behavior despite the harmful and negative consequences. Achieving use of the drug becomes the main objective in the life of an addict, regardless of the consequences.
The treatment for fentanyl addiction is the same as for any opioid use disorder and depends on the severity of the addiction. It may include detoxification treatments by entering specialized or outpatient centers, with medications to control cravings and relapses, and residential and outpatient behavioral treatment programs.
The consumption of fentanyl can cause accidental death even with a single dose, especially if taken incorrectly or at high doses. Famous as Prince orDemi Lobato They have been consumers of this dangerous drug, with terrible outcomes.
The signs and symptoms of a fentanyl overdose are:
- Slow or shallow breathing
- Bradycardia (slow heartbeat)
- Severe drowsiness
- Cold and moist skin
- Trouble walking or talking
- Feeling weak, dizzy or confused
- Lack of response
Fentanyl is an extremely potent opioid that offers significant pain relief to those suffering from severe or severe chronic pain pathologies, but it is also capable of causing considerable damage or death to people who misuse or are accidentally exposed.