Fentanyl has been in the news quite a bit lately because of a large number of overdoses related to its illegal use by addicts. Most of those were people that were used to using heroin, which is far less potent, and they miscalculated their dose of fentanyl since it’s more powerful. There are some good uses for this opiate in chronic pain control, and short-term pain as well. Let’s take a look at the uses, side effects, and dosages of this potent opiate.
This Is A Fast Acting, Very Strong Pain Medication
Fentanyl is incredibly strong and a very tiny amount goes a long way. It is considered a synthetic opioid because it isn’t made from poppy flowers but instead is manufactured in a lab using the opiate chemical structure. It is said to be from 100 to 500 times stronger than plain morphine which accounts for the high overdose death results, especially among addicts. The drug is usually prescribed for long-term chronic pain sufferers that have been on other, weaker, medications that have stopped being effective. Caution should be used, even in experienced users, since this opiate has a reputation for stopping breathing.
The manufacturer recommends this only be prescribed to patients that have used other opiate-related medications for several years and have built up a certain tolerance. Any other patients run a strong risk of overdose and possible death. Fentanyl is fast acting but typically not long lasting. However, when used in a transdermal patch it can be quite effective for some users. Cancer patients that are under close supervision sometimes find that fentanyl is the only drug strong enough to relieve their suffering. Since addiction is very quick it is not usually recommended for any type of short-term pain and many times reserved for terminally ill patients in extreme pain.
The Fentanyl Patch Is Powerful And Effective
There are lots of extreme pain sufferers that have nausea and vomiting problems due to other medications that they take for cancer or other diseases. These people need a strong pain medication that can be taken transdermally and fentanyl usually will work for them. Still, doctors won’t prescribe this powerful drug, even in a patch, unless the patient has used other opiates and developed a certain tolerance. The patches take a fairly long time to take effect but have a long duration as well. This can help a cancer patient avoid the fast roller coaster of blood levels and be pain-free for days on the same patch.
It can also be dangerous to change the patches sooner than 72 hours because of the risk of overdose since the blood levels after removing the patch decline slowly and a new patch could add too much fresh medicine to the blood causing an overdose. It’s best to be under constant supervision for at least the first 24 hours when using the best fentanyl patch to avoid serious side-effects.
If you are in extreme pain and have exhausted most of the weaker opioids you might check with your doctor about using fentanyl. However, many doctors are reluctant to prescribe it for safety reasons and careful monitoring is definitely needed. There are many online forum discussing the various uses of fentanyl and the experiences the patients had, this can be helpful in deciding if this drug is right for you.