Fentanyl Addiction

Fentanyl Painkiller

Defining Actiq

Actiq (Fentanyl Citrate) is a solid form of Fentanyl and is a potent analgesic used to treat extreme and persistent pain, particularly for cancer-related pain. Actiq is administered orally. It resembles a lollipop and is enclosed in a plastic coating that dissolves slowly across the buccal mucosa (the lining of the cheeks and lips).

Actiq falls into the oral transmucosal fentanyl citrate (OTFC) category of drugs and it is absorbed in the blood in the same way nicotine is absorbed when tobacco is placed in one’s mouth between the gum and the cheek. Actiq has a dual absorption mechanism- about 25% of the drug is absorbed directly into the bloodstream via the buccal mucosa and the remaining 75% is slowly dissolved into the gastrointestinal tract. The drug is less potent when consumed orally as compared to transmucosally, (by placing it between the gums and the cheek), because the liver directly absorbs and breaks down almost 66% of the drug; leaving only about 33% available for pain relief.

Side Effects of Actiq

Short-Term

  • Dry mouth
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Anxiety
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Shallow breathing
  • Extreme sleepiness
  • Fainting
  • Feeling light headed
  • Slow heart rate

Long-Term

  • Somnolence
  • Nervousness
  • Confusion
  • Rashes
  • Sweating
  • Abnormal vision
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations

Actiq Do’s and Don’ts

Actiq should be taken in accordance with the prescription suggested by the doctor. If the suggested dosage doesn’t offer relief against pain, the physician may increase the dosage on a case to case basis.

Actiq doses should be consumed with at least 4 hours between doses. Only one Actiq unit of suggested dose per one instance of breakthrough pain should be used.

Those looking to stop Actiq administration should undergo a gradual titration and lower the dose down in steps.

Individuals should not skip doctor’s appointments since he/she may suggest titrations based on tolerance towards the medicine.

Actiq should not be shared with others as it has high potential for abuse.

Actiq usage may cause allergic reactions to occur in some people. People who have had a history of asthma and glaucoma should stay away from Actiq as it can lead to suppressed breathing due to allergic reactions. Those with certain gastric disorders pertaining to kidneys and liver should also consult their doctor at length before starting with Actiq dosage.

Addiction and Overdose

Because Actiq contains fentanyl and is an opioid antagonist, it has high abuse potential. Because of this, the drug is available only through the Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) program laid down by the FDA. Actiq addiction may cause multiple withdrawal symptoms including:

  • Aggressiveness
  • Irritability
  • Dizziness
  • Insomnia
  • Lack of coordination in muscular movements

Overdose of Actiq can lead to coma and cardiac arrest. In case of an accidental overdose, contact a medical supervisor immediately and seek help. Actiq dosage in children can be extremely fatal.

Treatment

It is important for individuals to realize that Actiq addiction and overdose may be dangerous and life-threatening, and should be taken seriously. Individuals should strongly consider checking into a rehabilitation facility for helping relieve themselves of their addiction to Actiq. There are many treatment centers that provide sustainable treatment for Actiq addiction. Long-term Actiq addiction should be treated under professional supervision in such treatment centers so that individuals can receive care in a safe, secure, and supportive environment through the recovery process.

Defining Duragesic

Duragesic (Fentanyl) is commonly used as a pain reliever and is used to treat moderate to severe pain. Some other pain relievers are: Hydrocodone, Oxycodone, Morphine and tramadol.Duragesic is administered transdermally in patches, releasing fentanyl through the skin. Duragesic may take up to 12 hours to show results. Fentanyl is a potent opioid and once it takes effect, the drug stays active for approximately 72 hours. As a common practice, doctors prescribe a faster acting opioid along with Duragesic for breakthrough pain.

Duragesic acts on the mu-opioid receptors in the brain and is about 100 times more potent than morphine. The amount of Fentanyl released to the body is directly proportional to the surface area of the patch being applied.

Side Effects of Duragesic

Short-Term

  • Slow Heart Rate
  • Heavy Breathing
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Pallid skin
  • Bruising
  • Easy Bleeding
  • Chills
  • Severe Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Fever
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Itching
  • Rashes
  • Blistering
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry Mouth

Long-Term

  • Tolerance
  • Addiction
  • Anxiety
  • Clammy Skin
  • Thoughts of suicide

Duragesic Do’s and Don’ts

Duragesic should always be taken in the quantity prescribed by the doctor.

The doctor may suggest titration based on your body’s tolerance levels against Duragesic, potency of the dosage required, and the characteristic of other opioids that the patient has been taking previously. Individuals looking to convert or move onto another opioid should seek proper titration from the doctor.

Individuals should keep Duragesic patches out of reach of children and pets in order to avoid accidental swallowing.

Do not share your medication with anyone, especially with people who have had a history of addiction and substance abuse.

Individuals with severe renal or hepatic impairments should not administer Duragesic.

Duragesic can cause skin itching, rashes, blisters and other allergic reactions in people who have been previously allergic to opioids. Individuals should not expose the patch to heat as it may cause irritation and rashes on the skin.

Addiction and Overdose

Fentanyl is a Schedule II drug under FDA regulations and being an opioid, Duragesic has a high potential for abuse and addiction. Those with a history of substance abuse or addiction to painkillers are more prone to Duragesic abuse. There are very few Duragesic withdrawal symptoms. Some common withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Aggressiveness
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability

Overdose of Duragesic alone or when coupled with alcohol or other substances can be lethal, and can lead to breathing problems, coma, and in the worst cases, death. Individuals who have overdosed on Duragesic should seek immediate medical help.

Treatment

In case you encounter serious overdose side effects like heavy breathing, rashes, blisters, and dizziness- seek immediate medical help. If you have been chronically addicted to Duragesic for recreational purposes, it is best to seek addiction help through a rehabilitation center. Trained physicians and therapists can help individuals realize their addiction problem and help them figure out the best method to rid the body of Duragesic, so individuals can begin to live a healthy, drug-free lifestyle.

Defining Sublimaze

Sublimaze (Fentanyl Citrate) is a popular analgesic supplement for regional anesthesia. Sublimaze is also used as an anesthetic agent in certain high risk patients (such as those undergoing heart surgeries). Sublimaze is mostly administered through an injection and is one of the most potent narcotic analgesics on the market.

The drug acts almost immediately when given intravenously and the effects peak within a few minutes of administration. Typically, Sublimaze dosage lasts from 45 to 60 minutes after administration. Fentanyl binds the mu-opioid G-protein coupled receptors, thereby inhibiting the release of neurotransmitters in the brain responsible for signaling pain. Sublimaze has a relatively high lipophilicity which enables it to penetrate in to the central nervous system easily.

Side Effects of Sublimaze

Short-Term

  • Respiratory depression
  • Apnea
  • Rigidity
  • Bradycardia
  • Hypertension
  • Hypotension
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea
  • Emesis
  • Diaphoresis
  • Pruritus
  • laryngospasm
  • Anaphylaxis

Long-Term

  • Respiratory arrest
  • Circulatory depression
  • Cardiac arrest

Sublimaze Do’s and Don’ts

The initial dose of Sublimaze should be appropriately reduced when given to elderly.

Do not consume this drug with alcohol as it may catapult the body into irreversible coma, eventually leading to death of the person.

Sublimaze should not be used in patients who have had respiratory, renal, hepatic or cardiovascular disorders in the past. Pulmonary arterial pressure may occur during the administration of Sublimaze. Hypovolemia may occur when administered with a tranquilizer.

Individuals should not share medication with others as it may lead to substance abuse. It is important that Sublimaze be kept away from children and pets.

Other sedatives that act on the central nervous system will bear an additive effect when consumed with Sublimaze. If this is not the behavior you desire, do not consume Sublimaze in tandem with other CNS depressants like barbiturates, narcotics or anesthetics.

The drug can cause allergic reactions to people who have been traditionally allergic to Fentanyl or other opioids. People suffering from Glaucoma or respiratory impairments like asthma may face allergic respiratory depression. Gastric infections may occur in individuals with renal or kidney impairments.

Addiction and Overdose

Sublimaze is a schedule II controlled drug under the FDA regulations and has high potential for abuse. Fentanyl citrate is addictive because it acts on the central nervous system of the brain and can lead to dopamine secretion. Dopamine is the “pleasure” hormone of the brain and excessive dopamine secretion can lead to addiction. Moreover, Sublimaze withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Aggressiveness
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Tolerance

In case of accidental (or otherwise) overdose, the individual may suffer from acute respiratory malfunction including respiratory depression and sleep apnea. Overdose can lead to coma and be fatal in some cases. In case of overdose, individuals should seek medical help immediately.

Treatment

One of the most common side effects of Sublimaze usage includes respiratory depression. In such cases, the side effects can be reversed by administering oxygen in a controlled manner.

If a patient has been addicted to Sublimaze or is a chronic abuser of the substance, he or she will benefit from a rehab program in a professional rehab center. Sublimaze abuse is handled the same way as any other form of narcotic abuse. It is important for individuals to receive proper treatment for Sublimaze abuse in order to resume living a healthier lifestyle free from drug addiction.

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