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Facts about Fentanyl

Fentanyl, which is sold under the brand name Sublimaze, is a drug which is used as an anesthetic. Its main functions are in the treatment of pain when surgery is being carried out. It may be used during the surgery itself, or before or after an operation. Fentanyl can be used either alone or in combination with other types of medication.

The drug operates by using the opioid narcotic it contains to affect the body's nervous system and brain in order to reduce pain. It should never be used by people who are allergic to fentanyl, or to related drugs such as sufentani, or by anyone who is taking sodium oxybate - also known as GHB - or sibutramine. These people should immediately get in touch with a doctor.

Preparing to Use Fentanyl

It is important to appreciate that certain other treatments may interfere with the proper efficacy of fentanyl, so you should always let your pharmacist or doctor know if you are affected by any medical conditions. Some conditions have potentially serious implications, so these should always be reported to your doctor. People who should take this most seriously are:

  • Anyone who is allergic to any food or medication
  • People currently taking any other medication, whether over-the-counter or prescribed, including dietary or herbal supplements
  • Pregnant or breast-feeding women, as well as women who are trying to get pregnant
  • Those with a medical history of abnormal blood pressure or irregular heartbeat
  • People living with asthma, diabetes, certain liver, kidney, and heart conditions, brain or other head injuries, or who suffer malnutrition or are in generally poor health
  • People who take, or have recently taken, phenelzine or a similar monoamine oxidase inhibitor

Other Drugs Which May Interact with Fentanyl

Although it is a good idea to mention any other medication you may be taking, this is particularly important with certain classes of drugs. These include analgesics which mix antagonist and agonist properties, such as rifamycins, naltrexone, butorphanol and buprenorphine, since these may contribute to a lessening of the effectiveness of fentanyl.

Other drugs which can have a significant adverse influence on the efficacy of fentanyl include - but are by no means limited to - benzodiazepines, amiodarone, macrolide antibiotics, verapamil, telithromycin, and chlorpromazine. This is because there may be an elevated chance of experiencing side-effects. Make sure to get professional advice from your healthcare provider about any other concerns you may have regarding this.

The Correct Way to Take Fentanyl

It is very important to take fentanyl only in the way that your doctor has prescribed, as well as taking care to read the label in order to ascertain the precise dose which should be taken. Always let your doctor know if you accidentally miss a dose. The drug is often given by injection and this can be carried out in a clinic, hospital, or doctor's office. Fentanyl should never be used if the container in which it is stored has been damaged or cracked, nor should it be used if it has been contaminated by any kind of externally-sourced particle.

As is the case for all medicines, fentanyl should always be kept well away from pets and children, as should any needles, syringes, or other equipment used to administer it. This equipment must not be used more than once, and should always be properly disposed of once it has been used. Regulations on disposing of such equipment will vary from place to place, so you should ask your pharmacist or doctor to tell you what you need to do with used items.

Possible Side-Effects of Fentanyl

As is the case with most drugs, fentanyl can cause side-effects in some people. Among the most commonly encountered side-effects are dizziness or drowsiness. If you experience these, you should not operate machinery or drive. You should not drink any alcohol while you are on fentanyl, and you should ask your doctor for advice if you are currently taking sleeping tablets or muscle relaxant drugs.

The very old and the very young are likely to be more susceptible to side-effects than other groups, so these people should only take fentanyl with great caution and only after receiving detailed professional medical advice. Rarely, fentanyl may cause a more severe allergic reaction. If this happens, consult a doctor as soon as possible.


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