Abstral Addiction and Abuse

Abstral is an opioid analgesic, or narcotic, prescribed in order to help cancer patients when they experience breakthrough pain. Breakthrough pain is sudden, intense pain that occurs despite the other pain medications already present in their system.

Abstral has a powerful pain-relieving effect; it’s meant to stop an agonizing burst of pain for people who are constantly dealing with and battling pain. Due to its high potential for misuse, Abstral can only be obtained by cancer patients who are taking other opioids for pain management, and it can only be accessed through a restricted program via the Food and Drug Administration.

The FDA approved Abstral for breakthrough pain in January 2011.

Due to the high risk for substance misuse, psychological addiction, or overdose, Abstral should only be taken as directed by a doctor. Increasing the amount without medical consent can lead to the psychological disease of addiction. Many doctors warn their patients of the risks associated with Abstral. The opioid should never be taken more than twice during one breakthrough episode.

Abstral is offered as a sublingual tablet, meaning the tablet is placed under the tongue to dissolve, and it should never be chewed or swallowed. Initial doses start around 100 mcg, although a doctor may change this depending on the frequency and intensity of the pain.

It is not recommended to take another dose of Abstral within two hours of the last tablet, as it may cause side effects and overdose if continued.

Common side effects of Abstral include nausea, dizziness, drowsiness, vomiting, constipation, and dry mouth.

Most cancer patients already have a well-developed tolerance to opioid analgesics prior to taking Abstral. Unfortunately, this often increases the risk for the patient to misuse the drug. Misuse occurs when a person taking Abstral begins to increase their dose and take it more frequently without consulting their doctor. This does not mean they are addicted to Abstral, but the risk is far greater.

If someone is struggling with a substance use disorder, they begin to have uncontrollable cravings for Abstral and might start neglecting important aspects of life. Everyday life will begin to feel less important. Sometimes a person struggling with addiction will steal to obtain what they seek; this can cause problems with family members as well as trouble with the law.

If you know someone facing the challenges of opioid addiction, it’s critical for them to find the right treatment to increase their chances for long-term recovery.

Staying in recovery is difficult, and if someone attempts detox alone, the risk for recurring use is much higher. Finding the best treatment program for you or a loved one can have a drastic impact on the future.

At The Recovery Village, our staff is dedicated to your comfort during recovery. That’s why we offer 24/7 medical support, medications to ease withdrawal symptoms, and welcoming group and therapy sessions. We can help you to start living a substance-free life today.

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

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