Remifentanil Withdrawal and Detox

Remifentanil is a medication indicated for intravenous administration to act as an analgesic agent for patients in intensive care units. It can also be administered during postoperative periods for adult patients to help manage surgery-related pain. Remifentanil should only be provided to patients under the direct supervision of an anesthesia practitioner.

The most common side effects associated with Remifentanil are nausea, hypotension, vomiting, and muscle rigidity.

Other side effects that have been associated with Remifentanil are bradycardia, shivering, fever, dizziness, visual disturbance, headache, respiratory depression, apnea, pruritus, tachycardia, postoperative pain, hypertension, agitation, chills, warm sensation, pain at IV site, and hypoxia.

Please note, this is not a complete list of the possible Remifentanil side effects. Call your doctor for more information if you or someone you love believe they are experiencing a side effect of this medication that is not listed above.

If you no longer want to be given Remifentanil as part of your anesthesia, discuss this with your doctor. In most cases, the doctor will recommend the anesthesia practitioner to gradually lower a Remifentanil’s dose. Remifentanil has a short half-life, so this allows the body to adjust to lowering amounts of the medication. This strategy, known as tapering off the medication, helps the patient to avoid the worst of Remifentanil withdrawal symptoms.

Remifentanil administration should never be abruptly halted. Suddenly discontinuing this form of treatment will predispose patients to experience enhanced, unwanted withdrawal symptoms. In fact, you should never adjust your dosage levels or treatment schedule for any potent opioid without explicit affirmations from your doctor.

Common withdrawal symptoms associated with opioids like Remifentanil include restlessness, watery eyes, runny nose, yawning, sweating, chills, muscle pain, dilated pupils, irritability, anxiety, backaches, joint pain, weakness, abdominal cramps, insomnia, nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, high blood pressure, fast breathing, and increased heart rate.
Patients who are going through Remifentanil withdrawal experience the withdrawal timeline and symptoms in different ways. For some patients, withdrawal symptoms may subside within a few days. For others, it may take up to 7 days or longer. This is because each patient’s unique physiology contributes to how quickly substances are processed in the body and therefore how long withdrawal will last. Factors that contribute to how your body processes Remifentanil include your age, organ function, genetics, your Remifentanil dosage levels, and the frequency at which you are given Remifentanil.
If you are having trouble managing the withdrawal symptoms of Remifentanil, you may want to seek a medically assisted detoxification program. This program can be very helpful for patients, as they can safely remove the medication from their system and bring any withdrawal questions they have to medically-trained staff. Remember, each patient going through Remifentanil withdrawal experiences the process differently. Do not be afraid to seek help during this potentially difficult time.
Patients who need to undergo a medical procedure should always have an updated list of their medications handy and share this with their doctor while planning the procedure. This list should also include herbal products and over the counter drugs, as several substances can cause an interaction with Remifentanil.

Substances which have been shown to cause a Remifentanil interaction are benzodiazepines, sedatives, hypnotics, anxiolytics, tranquilizers, muscle relaxants, general anesthetics, antipsychotics, opioids, alcohol, mirtazapine, trazodone, tramadol, monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors, butorphanol, nalbuphine, pentazocine, and buprenorphine. These substances can sometimes affect how well Remifentanil works or induce a dangerous interaction which may lead to hospitalization or death. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you are considering starting any of these medications prior to your Remifentanil treatment.

Finding a Remifentanil rehab center to support you during your recovery is a very important step in living a happier, healthier, substance-free life. If you are unsure about what Remifentanil center is right for you, schedule a meeting with your doctor to discuss what features you should look for. You may want to consider other factors like how long you have been administered Remifentanil and your typical dosage levels when you are making this important decision.

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.