Actiq (Fentanyl) Prescription Facts

Actiq is a powerful brand-name version of the drug fentanyl, which is an opioid pain medication. Fentanyl is one of the most powerful pharmaceutically available opioids, believed to be 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine. Actiq is a lozenge that’s used much like a lollipop. The reason for this is because it can be absorbed into the mucous membranes of the mouth, providing fast relief. Actiq is supposed to only be prescribed for breakthrough cancer pain in patients already receive around-the-clock opioid medications. Actiq should be prescribed to people already opioid-tolerant. Actiq is not supposed to be prescribed for acute or surgical-related pain, migraines or dental pain.

Actiq Regulations

Actiq is a Schedule II controlled substance in the U.S. According to the DEA, Actiq or, more specifically, the active ingredient fentanyl, has a high potential for severe psychological and physical dependence. Schedule II controlled substances can’t be used by people without prescriptions because it’s illegal. Despite this guideline, Actiq and other fentanyl medications are sometimes diverted from medical use and misused. Actiq also has to be prescribed only to people who are part of the Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) program for transmucosal immediate-release fentanyl (TIRF) medications. This is called the TIRF REMS Access program. This program aims to reduce the misuse, addiction and overdose situations related to fentanyl medications.

Most Commonly Abused Opioids

The opioid epidemic is one that doesn’t seem to have a solution in sight. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 115 people die every day in the U.S. because of opioid overdoses. This includes prescription pain medications, heroin and synthetic opioids like heroin. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes this as a national crisis, affecting health and the economy. It’s estimated that 80 percent of people who use heroin first misused prescription opioids, and overdoses increased 30 percent from July 2016 through September 2017 in 45 states around the country. Fentanyl is one of the most commonly misused opioids. Other prescription opioids that are frequently misused can include hydrocodone, oxycodone and hydromorphone. Along with Actiq, other brand name versions of fentanyl include Fentora and Duragesic.

How Actiq Affects The Brain And Body

Actiq affects the brain and body similarly to morphine and other opioids but more powerfully. When someone takes Actiq, it binds to opioid receptors and changes how pain signals are sent and sensed throughout their body. Actiq slows functions of the central nervous system and can create a euphoric high in some patients. The active ingredient in Actiq, fentanyl, can cause people to feel drowsy and nod off as well. Side effects of fentanyl might include nausea, constipation and confusion. Other side effects may include serotonin syndrome, low blood pressure and the development of dependence and addiction. Actiq, which comes as a lozenge swab, works very quickly. The fast onset of action is one reason that Actiq is helpful for severe cancer breakthrough pain but also one of the reasons this particular version of fentanyl can be very addictive.

Half-Life Of Actiq

The half-life of any drug is a measure of how long it takes the body to eliminate half the dose taken. The half-life of Actiq is the same as the half-life of fentanyl. The half-life of fentanyl is estimated to be anywhere from 5 to 15 hours. It usually takes five half-lives for the entire dose of a drug to leave the system of a patient. Based on that it could take anywhere from 25 to 75 hours for a dose of Actiq to be fully eliminated from the system of the patient. Of course, these are only average estimates, and there are individual factors that can influence how long Actiq stays in your system. Actiq is considered a transmucosal form of fentanyl. Intravenous fentanyl tends to leave the system faster than transmucosal fentanyl like Actiq.

Factors That Influence How Long Actiq Stays In Your System

With any drug including Actiq, some things influence how long it can stay in the system of the patient. Some of these factors influencing drug elimination time include:

  • Age: The half-life of drugs is usually significantly longer in older people as compared to younger people. This is because of factors like rental and hepatic dysfunction.
  • Body fat: Someone with a lot of body fat will tend to see an accumulation of fentanyl in their system, but on the other hand, a taller, larger person who might not have a lot of body fat can eliminate drugs more quickly than a smaller person.
  • Genetics: Sometimes how long a person eliminates Actiq or any other substance from their system is because of their genetic makeup as well as their metabolism.
  • Hydration: If someone is well-hydrated, they’re likely going to eliminate substances from their systems more quickly than someone who isn’t. Being hydrated allows the drug to move more quickly through the system and be eliminated through urine.

Also relevant to how long Actiq stays in your system are things like how it was used, the dosage and how often it’s used. If someone has taken certain other drugs, substances or even particular food or drink before, during or after taking Actiq, this can influence elimination time too.

How Long Does Actiq Stay In Your Urine, Hair And Blood?

Actiq’s active ingredient fentanyl may not show up in a standard five-panel drug test because it doesn’t metabolize into morphine. However, Actiq and fentanyl can be tested for specifically on drug testing panels. Actiq might show up in a urine test for up to 72 hours after it’s used, but it’s highly variable depending on the individual. In a hair test, the use of most drugs being tested for can show up for as long as 90 days after the drug is used. Hair follicle tests have the longest detection windows among drug tests. Blood tests, on the other hand, have the shortest detection window in most cases. Fentanyl use might show up in a blood test a few minutes after it’s used, but it wouldn’t be detectable for more than a day in most people. In some cases, it could show up for a few days after it was used.

Related Topic: How long does fentanyl stay in your system

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The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with 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 providers.