Duragesic Overdose

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Duragesic is a brand name medication, also known in its generic form as the transdermal fentanyl patch. Fentanyl is a powerful opioid pain reliever that’s roughly 80 times more powerful than morphine. Duragesic is long-lasting and has a slow onset time. It’s typically prescribed for the management of chronic pain. Duragesic can take anywhere from 12 to 24 hours to take effect. The prescribing physician may administer a faster-acting opioid like morphine or oxycodone while the patient waits for Duragesic to take effect.

In the event of an overdose, the patient may require life-saving medical procedures, including oxygen therapy, intubation, manual ventilation, and the administration of an opioid antagonist such as naloxon to reverse the effects of the drug.

Duragesic Overdose
The primary symptoms of Duragesic overdose include pinpoint pupils, decreased level of consciousness, and severe respiratory depression. Respiratory depression is the ultimate cause of deteriorating vitals in the event of an overdose.

Duragesic suppresses the autonomic respiratory drive by acting directly on the brain stem, which is the area of the brain that controls breathing. Duragesic is a potent central nervous system depressant. Depending on the patient’s unique metabolic factors, even a mild dose of Duragesic can lead to a severely decreased level of consciousness.

Individuals who have taken too much Duragesic can deteriorate rapidly from poor coordination to unresponsiveness. The patient may be able to respond to questions with short phrases one moment and be unaware of their surroundings in a matter of minutes.

Prior to the onset of an overdose, several warning signs may be present. Call your prescribing physician immediately if you develop a high fever while taking Duragesic. For a small percentage of patients, Duragesic usage can lead to a condition known as adrenal insufficiency. Adrenal insufficiency occurs when the adrenal glands can no longer produce adequate amounts of the stress hormone cortisol. Symptoms of adrenal insufficiency include loss of appetite, weakness, hypotension (low blood pressure), fatigue, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting.

Duragesic use may cause a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis to occur. Anaphylaxis is the result of an overactive histamine response that leads to itchy, flushed skin, chest pain, swelling of the face and tongue, and difficulty breathing due to swelling of the airway.

Duragesic can cause a rapid drop in blood pressure. This may cause the patient to suddenly feel dizzy or faint. Sudden blood pressure loss is typically triggered when sitting or standing from a reclined position. To prevent these symptoms, the patient should rise slowly from a horizontal position to allow the body to gradually adjust.

Constipation is one of the most common side effects of Duragesic use. Talk to your doctor if you experience stomach pain and difficult bowel movements that persist for longer than a day. Laxatives, stool softeners, and other medications can be prescribed to treat gastrointestinal obstruction.

Duragesic Overdose
The amount of Duragesic necessary to overdose varies dramatically among patients. Fentanyl patches are among a small number of opioids that have resulted in fatal overdoses after just one dose. Extreme caution should be exercised when administering the initial dose of Duragesic. The lowest possible dose should be given until the patient’s tolerance has been established.

Several factors influence how effectively each person metabolizes Duragesic. Skin type, skin temperature, body fat percentage, and patch placement all influence absorption rate and the likelihood of overdose. Other factors include age, size, kidney, and liver function.

The priorities for stabilizing a patient during an opioid overdose are to ensure adequate respiration and reverse the effects of the drug. If the patient fails to breathe sufficiently on their own, adequate respiration is accomplished with assisted ventilation. Hospital staff may decide to place an intubation tube in the patient’s throat to secure the airway. If the patient remains conscious and is moving air on their own, oxygen therapy may be administered via a non-rebreather.

An opioid antagonist such as naloxone must be administered as soon as possible to reverse the effects of Duragesic on the body. Naloxone is the most commonly used opioid antagonist. When administered nasally or intravenously, naloxone can negate Duragesic’s effects in seconds with just a single dose. In cases of severe overdose, multiple doses may be necessary. Naloxone reverses the effects of opioids by forcing them to release their bond with opioid receptor sites in the body.

If you or someone you know is struggling with opioid dependency after prolonged Duragesic use, The Recovery Village is here to help. Visit us at www.TheRecoveryVillage.com or call toll-free at 855-548-9825 to learn more.

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.