Actiq (Fentanyl) Withdrawal And Detox
Actiq is a brand-name, lozenge version of the highly powerful and often deadly opioid fentanyl. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid and a Schedule II controlled substance in the U.S. Along with medical and pharmaceutical use of fentanyl, it’s frequently manufactured and sold on the black market. Fentanyl is like morphine, except that it’s anywhere from 50 to 100 times more powerful. Actiq is supposed only to be prescribed to patients who are already opioid-tolerant to manage breakthrough pain from cancer. Someone prescribed Actiq should be on another around-the-clock opioid pain medication, and they have to enrolled in a specific program to receive this medication. Despite the tight control of how Actiq is prescribed, it is sometimes diverted from medical use. Actiq can lead to respiratory depression and failure. It can also cause addiction and dependence. When someone is dependent on Actiq or any fentanyl product, they will likely go through withdrawal symptoms if they try to stop using it suddenly. The following are some common Actiq withdrawal symptoms:
- Abdominal pain
- Muscle pain
- Joint pain
- Lethargy or low energy levels
- Runny nose
- Teary eyes
- Increased pain sensitivity
- Increased heart rate
- Appetite problems
The severity of Actiq withdrawal and how long the symptoms last can dependent on individual factors, such as how long someone misused the drug and whether or not they also misused other drugs at the same time. For most people, within anywhere from 6 to 12 hours after the last dose of Actiq or fentanyl is used, the person will start to experience withdrawal symptoms. It may take longer for some people, however, and maybe up to a day or two. The initial Actiq withdrawal symptoms will usually include aches and pains, runny nose, sweating, insomnia and anxiety. Within two to four days, the worst of the Actiq withdrawal symptoms will usually begin. This is when the gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea can begin. Within about a week, most symptoms start to subside. Some symptoms of Actiq withdrawal may linger, however. In particular, problems with sleep, mood swings and behavioral changes, and cravings may continue for months after someone stops using fentanyl.
Opioid withdrawal, even from powerful drugs like fentanyl, isn’t usually deadly. That doesn’t mean it’s easy to manage without medical care, however. Complications can occur. For example, aspiration is possible during withdrawal, as is dehydration. One of the biggest risks when it comes to managing symptoms of Actiq withdrawal is a recurrence of use. If someone stops using opioids, their tolerance goes down. If they experience recurrence of use, they are more likely to overdose. Managing symptoms of Actiq withdrawal is typically best done with medical supervision, whether on an inpatient or outpatient basis. Most physicians will recommend opioid-dependent people gradually taper their dosage of the drugs down until they stop completely. This gradual tapering is a good way to mitigate withdrawal symptoms and reduce the risk of certain complications. However, tapering down should only be done under medical supervision.
With opioids like Actiq and other fentanyl products, certain medications can be given to manage withdrawal symptoms. Some examples of opioid detox medications include methadone and buprenorphine. These medicines are designed to combat withdrawal symptoms and cravings and help increase the likelihood of someone beginning an addiction treatment program. When these are used, it’s called medication-assisted treatment or MAT. Other medications may be given to treat certain symptoms as well. For example, someone might be given medications to help with pain or with sleep disturbances like insomnia.
One of the best options when someone is dependent on a drug as powerful as Actiq is a medical detox. A medical detox requires patients stay in the facility where they’re given around the clock medical supervision and care. There are advantages of a medical detox center including the safe, supportive environment, the increased comfort level and, of course, the medical supervision. This is ideal for someone who has been using Actiq heavily and for a long time, someone who is also detoxing from other drugs simultaneously or someone with co-occurring mental health disorders that may need to be treated.
As you explore your options for addiction treatment, we encourage you to reach out to The Recovery Village and see what we offer, and how we stand apart with our individualized treatment and care.
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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