Editorial

3 Health Risks of Fentanyl Use

When people experience headaches, bodily discomfort, or arthritic episodes, they often experience pain. On the other hand, patients with cancer, post-surgery, or severe wounds may have a more agonizing and painful experience. In these situations, everyone appears desperate for long-term pain treatment rather than temporary relief.

My daily dose. Sad depressed moody man sitting on the sofa and looking at the pills while being ready to take them

Modern advances in medicine have paved the way for the production of highly effective and sophisticated medications. One example is Fentanyl, a drug used to treat different types of pain. You may buy it over the counter (OTC) or online. However, extended use due to inappropriate ingestion can result in overdose and abuse, eventually leading to organ damage and addiction.

To avoid jeopardizing an individual’s overall health and welfare, there must be a strong emphasis on finding treatment for fentanyl addiction. A proper medical consultation with a registered physician and a valid prescription are required before purchasing Fentanyl in reputable pharmacies and drug stores.

What is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is widely known as a synthetic opioid, a drug prescribed by physicians to alleviate, if not fully cure, moderate to severe pain in cancer patients, post-surgery, and those who suffer from chronic pain.

Authentic opioid drugs are made naturally from the opium poppy plant, while Fentanyl is being made in a laboratory utilizing the same chemical structure. Thus, the use of the term synthetic or synthetically.

Furthermore, it’s clinically proven 50-100 times more potent than morphine and other anti-inflammatory drugs. You can find it in the form of lozenges, lollipops, transdermal patches, buccal or sublingual tablets, nasal spray, or intravenous injection.

Indications and Side Effects of Fentanyl

Fentanyl is recommended for general or regional anesthesia, pre-operative analgesia, postoperative pain control, as an anesthesia adjunct, and in treating moderate to severe acute or chronic pain.

The most prevalent side effects are nausea, vomiting, dizziness, fatigue, insomnia, confusion, pupillary constriction, drowsiness, headache, constipation, reduced appetite, mild diarrhea, respiratory depression, increased sweating, and urinary retention.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid narcotic used in medicine, vial isolated on white background.

Proper dosing will result in mild to moderate adverse effects lasting 3 to 14 days. However, you should seek medical assistance immediately if you develop severe and incapacitating symptoms, such as high fever, migraine, diarrhea, frequent vomiting, chest discomfort, or breathing difficulties.

Life-threatening severe effects may result in overdose or death. These include hypotension, a quick drop in blood pressure, loss of consciousness, and shallow or rapid breathing.

The Body’s Opioid System

Endogenous opioids, unique to the brain, are found in every human body. They support your body’s ability to prevent, manage, and block pain.

Enkephalins are produced predominantly in the adrenal medulla and the central and peripheral neurological systems. On the other hand, endorphins are produced simultaneously by the hypothalamus and pituitary gland. Although both have analgesic properties, endorphins are the body’s natural painkillers.

In addition, endorphins are stimulated and multiplied during activities such as exercising, eating, laughing, listening to music, reading your favorite book, and having an intimate time with your partner.

Moreover, a healthy innate opioid system can control body pain and decrease the risk of anxiety, depression, sleeping disorders, and chronic pain. However, an imbalance, deficiency, or the presence of an underlying condition can compromise their function and purpose.

How Does Fentanyl Work?

When Fentanyl is injected and absorbed into the body, it mimics the endogenous opioids and binds to the various opioid receptors in the tissues and organs. The first instance involves stimulating the brainstem, medulla, midbrain, and pons. It leads to pain control and modulation of the breathing cycle and may cease coughing.

Second is the limbic system, it’s linked to our behavior and emotions; when activated, it produces feelings of contentment, pleasure, and relaxation.

The spinal cord is the main conduit between the brain and the body, bringing messages and stimuli back and forth. It also contains the spinothalamic tract, responsible for pain perception.

Fentanyl blocks pain signals and increases the amount of dopamine in your body. As a result, the pain is relieved and makes you feel euphoric, happy, and relaxed. However, you must take it at the proper dosage and for its fundamental purposes. Failing to do so can lead to various health risks. Here are the following:

1. Long-Term Health Effects

Even after you stop taking Fentanyl, the long-term health impacts may impact your mental and physical health. If any of the following symptoms persist over three to eight weeks, you should seek immediate medical attention from your prescribing physician:

  • Frequent memory problems
  • Difficulty thinking and focusing
  • Irregular or shallow breathing
  • Chronic fatigue and drowsiness
  • Discomfort or tightening of the throat
  • Muscle and joint stiffness
  • Appearance of redness and itchiness
  • Constipation and stomach upset
  • Frequent episodes of nausea and xerostomia (or dry mouth)

2. Fentanyl Overdose

An overdose of Fentanyl happens when the following occurs:

  • The physician prescribed the wrong dosage or gradually increased your dosage without re-evaluating your condition.
  • You failed to follow the proper instructions and took more than the prescribed dosage.
  • You failed to return for a follow-up consultation and continued to take Fentanyl for some time. Some patients buy them online because they don’t require a prescription.

Overdosing can lead to multiple organ damage or failure, worsening pre-existing conditions or comorbidities, and death.

3. Fentanyl Addiction

When Fentanyl is consumed, it stimulates the brain to suppress or block pain and increases the dopamine that flows throughout your body. Remember that dopamine plays a vital role in the body’s reward system, making you feel alert, energetic, enthusiastic, and euphoric.

Long-term abuse can condition the brain to have elevated dopamine levels. Thus, when you fail to take Fentanyl or its benefits begin to wear off, your mind and body desperately need it. Substance abuse can result in long-term health problems, including overdose.

Taking All Into Consideration

Fentanyl is unquestionably one of the most potent painkillers on the market today. As with other addictive medicines, misuse and abuse can significantly impact on your health and fitness.

Remember not to self-medicate when you’re sick or under the weather, and don’t read blogs or websites that aren’t credible. It is strongly recommended that you seek medical advice from a licensed physician. To prevent overdose and addiction, following the recommended dosage and treatment schedule as mentioned above would be best.

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