Fentanyl is a nasty drug that destroys users minds and bodies health.
Fentanyl is a strong opioid painkiller which can only be obtained through a GP’s prescription. Its primary use is to treat severe pain in general. This could be from a serious injury for example or post-operational complications. It can also be prescribed for less serious types of pain when other, less strong painkillers have proved ineffective. It comes in various forms, with the most common being patches that are applied to the skin. You can also receive it through dissolvable tablets, a nasal spray and injections which are usually performed at the hospital. It works by binding itself to opioid receptors in the body which control both pain and emotions.
Like all medication, there are some side effects commonly associated with taking fentanyl, although the likelihood of experiencing them depends on how low or high your prescribed dosage is. It could well be that you will experience no side effects of your own or otherwise have to merely contend with minor ones. Among the most common fentanyl side effects are nausea, constipation, drowsiness, confusion and itching or skin rashes. If these symptoms persist, contact your GP or pharmacist to discuss potential remedies for them.
Fentanyl’s more serious side effects are rarer and only affect around one in every hundred people. These include stiffness in the muscles and feelings of dizziness, tiredness and low energy – all of which when featured together are common signs of low blood pressure. Should you experience any of these, remove your patch and contact your doctor. On the other hand, if your breathing becomes short and shallow or you find breathing difficult, you should ring 999 at once. In very rare cases, you may suffer a serious allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis to fentanyl. In this instance, you should call 999 or take yourself to your nearest A&E if you begin wheezing, your chest or throat tightens, you encounter difficulties in breathing or talking and you experience swelling in the mouth, face, tongue, or throat areas.
There are various steps you can take to mitigate the side effects of your fentanyl treatment. For example, if you have begun experiencing constipation, try to include more high-fibre foods in your diet such as fruit, vegetables and cereals. Several glasses of water or squash each day are also recommended. Feelings of nausea pass after a few days, but until that time avoid eating rich or spicy foods and make sure you drink plenty of fluid to avoid becoming dehydrated.
If you experience stomach pain, aim to eat more slowly and get as much rest and relaxation as you can. If your symptoms include drowsiness, be sure to avoid consuming alcohol as it can exacerbate feelings of tiredness and sleepiness. If you start feeling confused, be sure to talk to your doctor as soon as you can. It may be that your dose needs to be changed.
When prescribed and overseen by a GP, fentanyl is a perfectly safe, if powerful, drug to take. However, problems arise when fentanyl is taken as an illegal recreational drug. It is estimated that fentanyl is between fifty and a hundred times more potent than morphine. Illegal fentanyl is manufactured in labs and sold as powder, blotting paper, eye drops and nasal sprays and in tablet form. It takes a very small amount of fentanyl to produce a high, making it a cheap but dangerous additive to other drugs such as heroin and cocaine. Once a person becomes addicted, their world starts to revolve around drug usage and seeking the next fix. When addicted to fentanyl, a person may experience extreme happiness, confusion, feelings of sedation, breathing difficulties and eventually unconsciousness. It is very possible to overdose on fentanyl and common signs that indicate an overdose has occurred are laboured or stopped breathing.
Because of its potency, a person taking fentanyl can experience dependence even when it is prescribed by a doctor. This is characterised by the person undergoing withdrawal symptoms when their course of medication has been completed. This does not mean to say that dependence automatically results in addiction, but it is not unknown for it to develop into one.
When someone who is addicted to fentanyl suddenly stops taking it, they can expect to undergo any number of a range of different withdrawal symptoms. These include pain in the muscles and bones, problems sleeping, diarrhoea and vomiting, uncontrollable leg movements and severe cravings. Currently there are several ways of helping people overcome their addiction to fentanyl.
These include medication such as buprenorphine and methadone, which bind themselves to the same opioid receptors in the brain as fentanyl does and reduce cravings and other symptoms. There is also counselling; cognitive behavioural therapy works to modify the addict’s behaviour and manage stress and triggers. It is common for counselling to be provided alongside medication and the results have been proven to be effective.
Remember, it is possible to become addicted to fentanyl even when it is used to treat pain and prescribed by your doctor, but during the assessment you should be told by the doctor what steps you can take to minimise the risks of dependence or addiction. It is not a suitable medication for everyone and you should avoid using it if you have ever had an allergic reaction to medication, if you have an irregular heartbeat, have low blood pressure, or if you are pregnant among others. A thorough consultation with your doctor will determine whether or not fentanyl is a suitable treatment for you. Be wary of becoming addicted and if you feel you are at risk of this, either via legal or illegal usage, seek help immediately.
This article along with all articles on this site are for educational and informational purposes only and must not be used or taken as a substitute in any form for any medical, psychological (mental) advice, medication you are currently taking or any alternative treatments without the prior advice, guidance and consent from your medical doctor. Please speak with your doctor first before making any changes to your diet or medicine as a result of reading any information laid out on this website or in this or any other articles.
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