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Fentanyl Withdrawal

The Fentanyl patch, sold under the brand name Duragesic patch, is approved for the treatment of chronic, severe pain in patients who require strong, longer-acting pain relief. Designed to deliver pain medication for up to 72 hours, fentanyl is an opioid analgesic about 81 times more potent than morphine.

Because Fentanyl is such a potent pain medication, there are several precautions that must be taken when using this medication.

Proper application, disposal and storage of fentanyl patches are all crucial to reducing the risk of unwanted side effects. Fentanyl must be used exactly as directed by a physician and should never be shared with another individual.

Unfortunately, however, even if patients use fentanyl precisely as directed, they can still experience health complications resulting from fentanyl withdrawals.

Withdrawal Symptoms from Fentanyl Patch

Dependence and tolerance for fentnayl can build quickly, so even a patient who has used Duragesic patches for a short time may experience a fentanyl withdrawal upon terminating use of this medication.

Because a patient can develop both a physical and psychological addiction to this powerful opioid, Fentanyl withdrawal can affect people in a number of ways. Symptoms of a fentanyl withdrawal can include:

  • abdominal pain
  • anxiety
  • confusion
  • constipation
  • hot flashes
  • irritability
  • insomnia
  • loss of appetite
  • muscle aches
  • night sweats or general excessive sweating
  • rapid breathing
  • stuffy or runny nose
  • tremors

In general, fentanyl drug withdrawal symptoms are the strongest and most discomforting in the first day or two after discontinuing use of the medication. Fentanyl withdrawal duration will depend on:

  • how long a patient has used fentanyl patches
  • the strength/dosage of fentanyl taken
  • the patient's medical history
  • his known tolerance for pain medication

Clearly, those who have used stronger doses of fentanyl for longer periods of times (as well as those who have developed a high tolerance to pain medication) will experience the most severe fentanyl withdrawals.

Fentanyl withdrawal recall

Fentanyl is an addictive medication that has a high potential for abuse. These characteristics are compounded by the fact that an overdose can cause Fentanyl death. The use and abuse of Fentanyl has become a concern since the discovery of over a hundred people who have died of overdose. The FDA announced in July 2005 after issuing a Public Health Advisory that the agency is investigating these reports to assess whether these risks are a result of Fentanyl misuse or the quality of the product.

While the exact link between Fentanyl and the circumstances of these deaths remains unclear, the manufacturer has issued a Fentanyl withdrawal from the market in the past for product defect concerns. In early 2004, Janssen Pharmaceuticals issued a recall of one manufacture lot of Fentanyl. This Fentanyl recall was then expanded to include five manufacture lots nationwide. The Fentanyl recall was ordered in response to concerns that one edge of these patches leaked medicine.

Fentanyl, like other potent analgesics of its class, causes a patient to develop both a tolerance to and dependence on the drug. This means that there is a significant risk of Fentanyl withdrawal when a person stops taking this medication. If a patient wishes to change or stop their treatment regiment, they should speak with their physician first to determine the best way to reduce the risk of Fentanyl withdrawal.

Fentanyl Withdrawal Treatment

If patients have only taken low doses of fentanyl for short periods of time, experts recommend that they quit "cold turkey" and weather the uncomfortable physical fentanyl withdrawal side effects.

However, when serious fentanyl addiction is present, patients may need:

  • To take other medications, such as buprenorphine, which are approved for use in the treatment of opioid addiction
  • Professional inpatient treatment at a detox and rehabilitation facility.

Given the physical and mental affects of fentanyl addiction, professional, round-the-clock treatment may be necessary to combat serious fentanyl addiction.

Fentanyl withdrawal after treatment

Dependence and tolerance for this medication can build quickly, so even a patient who has taken Fentanyl for a short time may experience a Fentanyl withdrawal upon terminating treatment. Because a patient can develop both a physical and psychological addiction to this powerful opioid, Fentanyl withdrawal can affect people in a number of ways. Symptoms of a Fentanyl withdrawal can include:

  • anxiety
  • irritability
  • confusion
  • tremors
  • sweating
  • muscle aches
  • stuffy or runny nose
  • abdominal pain
  • rapid breathing

These unpleasant Fentanyl withdrawal symptoms are usually strongest in the first day or two after discontinuing use of the medication.

More on fentanyl withdrawal

If you or a loved one is taking Fentanyl and you are concerned about the recent reports of deadly Fentanyl side effects caused by this drug or want to learn more about Fentanyl withdrawal, please contact a Fentanyl lawyer to speak with a qualified and experienced attorney in your area.

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