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Important Details about Fentanyl Overdose

Fentanyl is an opiate analgesic that doctors prescribe as an alternative to morphine. The drug helps minimize or eliminate pains caused by medical or surgical procedures. This medication is also recommended to people who can tolerate the effects of opiates.

The medication is a type of synthetic narcotic, which stimulates the receptors in the brain and increases the person's ability to fight off pain. It is administered orally, while others may receive doses of the drug using the transdermal method. The drug may also be injected to a person's upper torso, and this can hasten the body's absorption of the substance. In addition, continuous topical application of the drug increases the level of this substance in the blood.

Fentanyl Abuse

As with other types of opioid drugs including heroin and morphine, fentanyl combines with the nerve receptors in the brain. These chemicals are the ones that enable the brain to control thoughts and emotions. When the substance takes effect, the increase in dopamine levels causes a person to feel calm and elated.

Some doctors may prescribe fentanyl to patients that experience moderate to intense discomfort. There are instances, though, when people tend to abuse the substance because of the pleasurable sensations caused by the drug. They try to purchase the drug in illegal ways, and some even combine the substance with powdered heroin or alcohol.

When the fentanyl is mixed with other drugs such as heroin or cocaine, the user may suffer from health risks and serious medical conditions. The different side effects of fentanyl abuse include coma, euphoria, constipation, nausea, drowsiness, sedation, and breathing difficulties.

Fentanyl Overdose

Fentanyl is a narcotic analgesic that can help relieve pain, and it is available in different forms such as a skin patch, lozenge or pill. When used as a patch, the drug may serve as an effective treatment for chronic pain. The lozenge or pill form can control pains associated with serious medical conditions including cancer. However, long-term use of the drug can cause a person to become dependent or addicted to it. A person may also suffer from the following overdose symptoms with prolonged use of Fentanyl.

1. Breathing Difficulties

As with any type of narcotic analgesic, Fentanyl can suppress the respiratory system. The lungs may no longer function efficiently, and this can cause a person to suffer from shallow breathing. Individuals may also experience breathing difficulties, and this can lead to respiratory arrest when not treated immediately. Those who have breathing problems that persist for days should consult their doctor for the appropriate treatment. With prompt treatment, they can avoid life-threatening conditions linked with fentanyl overdose.

2. Seizures

When a person uses the fentanyl skin patch for long periods, he or she may suffer from seizures. This medical condition occurs when the body absorbs high amounts of the substance. A seizure is a type of convulsion that causes people to be unaware of their surroundings. In addition, those who suffer from seizures may experience twitches and move jerkily. Some patients may immediately pass out or stare blankly without responding to the people around them. Prompt medical assistance is recommended for individuals who experience any signs of seizures linked with fentanyl use.

3. Drowsiness

Individuals who experience drowsiness may feel very tired and sleepy. However, fentanyl overdose is associated with severe drowsiness and lightheadedness. In fact, those who suffer from this condition may fail to respond to others. In extreme cases, overdose of the drug can put people into a deep sleep.

4. Low heart rate

Another overdose symptom is bradycardia or decreased heart rate. Prolonged use of the patch form can slow down the heart rate and lead to hypotension or low blood pressure. The normal heart rate is typically about 60 to 100 beats per minute. However, individuals who have fewer heart beats should seek emergency assistance because of the fatal effects of this condition.

Fentanyl is a potentially dangerous type of synthetic opioid. It may be applied to the skin when used in the patch form. The transdermal patch is recommended for patients that require constant opioid treatment for prolonged or chronic discomfort, as well as those who can no longer manage pain with medications. High doses of the drug, though, can result to dependency, health problems, and death.


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