What Is Fentanyl Used For?

What is fentanyl used for and what is fentanyl used to treat?

These are two common questions regarding fentanyl, which is a highly powerful prescription synthetic opioid. The following will look what fentanyl is used for and what it’s used to treat.

What Is Fentanyl Used For?
Fentanyl is a schedule II drug in the U.S. This means that while it has the potential for abuse, it does also have medical uses. Unfortunately, even though it’s a prescription-only pain medication, it’s often obtained illegally, and it’s widely abused because it’s quite a bit more powerful than morphine or even heroin.

Fentanyl is used for the treatment of chronic pain, which is pain that’s ongoing.

It’s used most often to treat the pain experienced by cancer patients, and in particular, something called breakthrough pain. This occurs when a cancer patient has constant pain medicine already, such as morphine, but then experiences sudden, severe pain as well. Fentanyl works by acting on the brain’s opioid receptors to alter how your brain experiences pain and also reacts to it.

Fentanyl is not intended to be used for pain that’s short term and will go away in a few days, and it’s not typically meant on an as-needed basis, particularly when it’s used in patch form.

Another thing to consider when evaluating what is fentanyl used for is the fact that it’s specifically intended for people who are opioid-tolerant, meaning they need relief for serious pain, but they’ve developed a tolerance to other opioids, rendering them ineffective.

Some outlets warn against used fentanyl for the treatment of surgical pain, but it is sometimes used for this. When it’s used for surgical applications, it’s often part of the anesthesia given to prevent pain following the surgery.

When fentanyl is prescribed medically, it’s available in several different forms including as a lozenge, a lollipop, a spray, a dissolving strip, a tablet, an injectable solution and a patch that goes on the skin.

Since there is a high likelihood of abuse and dependence with fentanyl when it’s prescribed it’s done under a carefully monitored situation.

Patients who are prescribed fentanyl are given a set of instructions, which include not drinking alcohol when taking it and checking with a pharmacist before taking any other over-the-counter or prescription medicines, or vitamins or supplements.

Since fentanyl is a controlled substance and is intended only for very specific purposes, a patient should never be given the drug for longer than is necessary. When someone takes fentanyl for too long or any opioid painkiller, their body becomes used to it which is called developing a tolerance.

When this happens, and then person stops taking it, they will experience uncomfortable, unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.

The transdermal patch version of fentanyl is specifically for patients who are already opioid dependent. This patch absorbs through the skin, and a buildup of the medicine has to occur in the skin before it starts working. It can continue being effective for up to 24 hours after the patch is removed as well.

Fentanyl is used primarily to treat cancer, as was touched on above, and this is because people who are taking opioids for the treatment and management of severe pain rarely become addicted or develop addiction disorders. Also, cancer patients rarely become recreational users of drugs.

When fentanyl is prescribed, it’s important that the doctor is careful with the selection of patients, and pre-screening occurs to make sure they’re watching out for a higher-than-average potential for abuse.

When fentanyl is used to treat pain in patients who aren’t necessarily good candidates, it can lead to addiction, dependence and even death.

So, to specifically sum up the answer to what is fentanyl used for and what is fentanyl used to treat, it’s used as anesthesia for patients who are undergoing heart surgery, as well as patients who have poor heart function. It’s used the manage breakthrough pain in cancer patients who receive opioid maintenance medicine, and it can be used for pain management in patients who have severe, chronic pain necessitating around-the-clock opioid treatment.

What Is Fentanyl Used For?
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