Remifentanil Signs, Symptoms, and Side Effects
Remifentanil Addiction Hotline
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Remifentanil has unique pharmacological properties that make it difficult to misuse. Unlike most opioids, it is not metabolized by the liver; instead, Remifentanil undergoes rapid hydrolysis in non-specific tissues. This leads to a short half-life of only four minutes, even following continuous administration over the course of several hours.
Patients recover quickly following surgery when Remifentanil is taken as the primary pain reliever. Lower doses of hypnotics like propofol are also needed during Remifentanil treatment. Remifentanil’s unique pharmacology allows it to be administered via computerized infusion in a process called Total Intravenous Anesthesia (TIVA). Its short half-life allows optimal plasma concentrations of the drug to be tightly regulated and monitored.
Remifentanil acts directly on the brainstem to inhibit the autonomic urge to breathe. The brainstem regulates autonomic breathing based off carbon dioxide levels in the blood. Remifentanil inhibits the brainstem’s ability to accurately read carbon dioxide levels, leading to carbon dioxide toxicity and oxygen deprivation (hypoxia) in the event of an overdose. The risk of life-threatening respiratory depression is low in a hospital setting due to the drug’s short elimination time.
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Remifentanil is less-appealing for recreational use due to its short half-life. As such, Remifentanil is rarely targeted by illicit drug dealers for distribution. The fentanyl from which Remifentanil is derived, however, is largely responsible for the current opioid overdose epidemic that has overtaken North America in the last two decades.
If you or someone you love is struggling with opioid misuse, The Recovery Village is available to answer any questions you may have. Visit us online at www.TheRecoveryVillage.com or call our toll-free 24-hour hotline at 855-548-9825 to learn more about recovery resources in your area. We can help you to start living a healthy, substance-free life today.