What Are the Forms of Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is one of the strongest synthetic opiate drugs circulating the country. Fifty to 100 times the potency of morphine, fentanyl is a medication used to relieve chronic pain from diseases such as cancer and acute pain from surgical procedures. It is highly addictive and can be fatal in smaller amounts.

For medical purposes, fentanyl comes in the form of lollipops, trans-dermal patches, tablets, lozenges, nasal sprays and is injected intravenously in hospitals. These same forms of the drug can be smuggled on the street for recreational use. Fentanyl is also produced as a powder that can be smoked, snorted, injected and absorbed in the mucous membrane orally. It is often used to cut, or dilute, other lethal drugs such as heroin and cocaine. Because it is used recreationally, fentanyl is often provided in higher doses, dangerously increasing the risk of overdose and death.

Some prescription brand-names of fentanyl are Actiq, Duragesic and Sublimaze. Slang references to this drug include:

  • China Girl
  • China White
  • Apache
  • Dance Fever
  • Goodfella
  • Murder 8
  • TNT
  • Jackpot
  • Tango and Cash

Fentanyl is one of the cheaper drugs sold on the street, and is frequently used to cut more expensive drugs like heroin and cocaine to increase the potency. However, many users are unaware of the dangerous mix and often overdose. Even prescribed fentanyl medication can prove to be lethal; a speck of powder fentanyl equaling a few grains of salt can kill an adult man.

Reviving overdose victims has grown increasingly difficult. Fentanyl overdose victims sometimes require double the amount of naloxone — an overdose antidote drug — to recover than a heroin overdose victim.

What are the forms of fetanyl?
Fentanyl can be used in candy or “lollipop” form. The prescription drug Actiq is the sweet-tasting lollipop version of this substance, often prescribed to cancer patients 16 years of age and older who have already developed a tolerance to other opioid medications. The lollipops are addictive, and prescribed patients are recommended to have no more than 120 lollipops per month.

Actiq comes in solid form on a stick, dissolving slowly in the mouth and absorbed in the mucous membrane. These fentanyl lollipops come in six different microgram strengths:

  • 200 mcg
  • 400mcg
  • 600 mcg
  • 800mcg
  • 1200 mcg
  • 1600 mcg

A lollipop at its highest strength of 1600 micrograms is equivalent of taking 160 milligrams of morphine. The effects are immediate, reaching the bloodstream within 20 minutes. Typical high symptoms include instant euphoria, drowsiness and physical relaxation; the high can last up to 12 hours.  

If users are new to opioid medication, Actiq could prove to be fatal and cause respiratory depression — a condition reducing the urge to breath. Frequent Actiq use can also result in extensive dental issues including oral infections, cavities, tooth loss and tooth decay.

Fentanyl is also available in the form of a tablet, recommended predominantly for cancer patients 18 years or older who are tolerant to other narcotic pain medications. Unlike most pills, fentanyl tablets are placed under the tongue and dissolved. Patients are urged to take only what is prescribed because of the tablet’s potency. It should not be used for short-term pain or recreational use.

However, fentanyl pills and tablets are found on the street where doses have been manipulated and distributed to users. This can be lethal, moreso because they are often disguised as other prescription drugs including Xanax, Percocet and hydrocodone. Fentanyl pills can be swallowed or crushed and snorted to reach a high.

The risk of addiction is high, and increased use of fentanyl pills or tablets can increase the likelihood of overdose. This is especially true when used in combination with other drugs.

Fentanyl patches, or transdermal fentanyl, is another common form of this opiate drug. Patients using transdermal fentanyl patches and recreational users are both at risk of addiction because of the drug’s potency.

The patch is applied to the skin once every three days, and the drug is gradually released into membranes over a period of hours. Due to the time-release design of the patch, effects of fentanyl can last up to 17 hours. The patches come in three doses:

  • 25 micrograms per hour
  • 50 micrograms per hour
  • 100 micrograms per hour

Recreational users extract the drug from the patches and inject it, ingest it or smoke it sometimes in combination with its intended use. High doses of fentanyl can result in respiratory depression and sometimes death.

Due to the potency of fentanyl and its addictive nature, fentanyl can lead to withdrawal symptoms in addicts and prescribed patients. Eliminating the drug cold turkey from a user’s system can be fatal if the abuser relapses and takes too high a dose. Instead, it’s recommended users taper off fentanyl.

Common withdrawal symptoms from all forms of fentanyl include:

  • Elevated heart rate
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Chills
  • Joint pain
  • Restlessness
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Runny nose
  • Diarrhea
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Abdominal pain
If you or someone you know is suffering from fentanyl addiction, do not hesitate in seeking help. Fentanyl withdrawal can prove to be just as dangerous as addiction. Without proper help and support, fentanyl addiction can be fatal.

The Recovery Village and our trained team of medical professionals can help to lead you from the darkness of addiction into the light of recovery. With our specialized treatment programs, we offer you an effective and life-changing recovery experience and ample support. Don’t wait another day to seek help. Let us help you beat your addiction for good.

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Drugs.com. (2017, April 11). Fentanyl tablet: Indications, Side Effects, Warnings. Retrieved from https://www.drugs.com/cdi/fentanyl-tablet.html

EMS1. (2017, April 27). 8 deadly forms of fentanyl. Retrieved from https://www.ems1.com/medical-clinical/articles/233969048-8-deadly-forms-of-fentanyl/

Global Information Network About Drugs. (n.d.). Fentanyl. Retrieved from http://www.ginad.org/en/drugs/drugs/285/fentanyl-

Medline Plus. (2017, January 15). Fentanyl Transdermal Patch. Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a601202.html

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2016, June). DrugFacts: Fentanyl. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/fentanyl

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (n.d.). Fake Prescription Drugs Laced with Fentanyl. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/emerging-trends/fake-prescription-drugs-laced-fentanyl

Orr, J. (2013, February 15). Actiq fentanyl lollipop may be deadly when used by non-cancer patients. Retrieved from

What Are the Forms of Fentanyl?
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