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Fentanyl

Uses

This medication is used to treat patients with persistent, severe pain (such as cancer-related pain).

IUPAC name: N-phenyl-N-[1-(2-phenylethyl)piperidin-4-yl]propanamide

Drug class: Opioid analgesics (Synthetic opioid)

Route of administration: intravenous, intramuscular, transdermal (skin patches), intrathecal, intranasal, sublingual (under the tongue), epidural

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Is it a drug that needs a prescription? YES

Is it an OTC drug? NO

Mechanism of action

This pain relief medication (aka narcotic analgesic) lowers pain perception by attaching to opioid receptors in the central nervous system (CNS) and preventing neurons from transmitting pain signals from the body to the brain.

Side effects

It may cause nausea, dizziness, drowsiness, vomiting, headache, dry mouth, inability to urinate, sedation, abdominal pain, constipation, mood changes, itching, indigestion, skin irritation or redness (when you wear a skin patch) 

Warnings

If you take this medicine improperly and without a prescription, you face the risk of becoming addicted (habit-forming), overdosing, or even dying.

If you take fentanyl with alcohol, it increases your chances of developing blurred vision, dizziness, drowsiness, or it can also slow your breathing. Fatal side effects can occur.

Precautions

Before using this medication, take the following precautions and notify your doctor:

  • If you are allergic to it or to other opioids, or if you have other allergies,
  • If you are taking any other medication (prescribed, non-prescribed, or herbal products), especially pain reliever,
  • If you have a history of cardiac disease (such as arrhythmia) breathing or lung problems (including sleep apnea, severe asthma, COPD-chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), brain problems (tumors, seizures), kidney issues, liver disease, gallbladder disease, depression, intestinal blockage due to paralytic ileus, constipation, diarrhea, irregular heart rate, difficulty urinating, drug abuse,
  • If you have undergone any type of surgery,
  • If you’re getting an MRI,
  • Avoid activities that may cause your body temperature to increase.
  • This drug’s adverse effects are more severe in older adults.
  • Consult your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

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