Fentanyl Drug Facts | A Center for Addiction Recovery

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Information provided below is courtesy of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

Fentanyl Overview

Fentanyl Addiction TreatmentFentanyl is a narcotic (opioid) pain medicine. Fentanyl buccal is used to treat "breakthrough" cancer pain that is not controlled by other medicines. Fentanyl buccal is taken together with other non-fentanyl narcotic pain medicine that is used around the clock. This medication is not for treating pain that is not cancer-related, such as general headaches or back pain. Fentanyl may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Fentanyl Signs of Abuse

It is not always easy to detect when someone is abusing opiate medications like Fentanyl; however, there are some physical signs, even if a person has developed a tolerance to the drug. If the pupils (the black center of the eye) are very small even in a dark room, like a pinpoint, is a useful sign. Fentanyl depresses the central nervous system, causing a loss of alertness. This can cause nodding, temporarily falling asleep even during conversations or while standing. Those who have abused Fentanyl for long periods of time may become tolerant to this effect. Emotional Fentanyl induces feelings of euphoria in most abusers. This can cause a person to appear either overly happy or indifferent, especially to difficult situations. The euphoria does not last long, changing to irritability until the next dose. Many abusers will feel guilt and the abuse can even lead to thoughts of suicide. Behavioral Those abusing Fentanyl are likely to show changes in daily behaviors. Drug-seeking behavior, including prescription tampering or doctor shopping (going to several doctors trying to gain prescriptions), is a sign of abuse. Other behavioral changes include loss of interest in normal daily activities, change in performance at work or school and withdrawal from friends and family.

Effects of Fentanyl Abuse

Abuse of Fentanyl poses a risk of overdose and death. This risk is increased with concurrent abuse of Fentanyl with alcohol and other substances. Due to the presence of talc as one of the excipients in tablets, parenteral abuse of crushed tablets can be expected to result in local tissuenecrosis, infection, pulmonary granulomas, and increased risk of endocarditis and valvular heart disease. In addition, parenteral drug abuse is commonly associated with transmission of infectious diseases such ashepatitis and HIV. Proper assessment of the patient, proper prescribing practices, periodic re-evaluation of therapy, and proper dispensing and storage are appropriate measures that help to limit abuse of opioid drugs.

Fentanyl Withdrawal Symptoms

Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking Fentanyl after prolonged use is a sign of addiction. Withdrawal symptoms are likely to occur within a few hours after the last dose. These symptoms can include an intense craving for more drugs, sweating, nausea, vomiting, runny nose, yawning, restlessness, weakness, cramps, diarrhea, chills, irritability, agitation, muscle pain and twitching. In the most severe cases of addiction, seizures can occur, so it is best to go through withdrawal while under medical supervision.

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