What are the side effects of fentanyl?

What are the side effects of fentanyl?

Fairly common side effects from taking prescribed fentanyl include darkened bowel movements, heavy perspiration, coughing, chest pain, blurry vision, dry mouth, chills, increased thirst, lightheadedness, aching back or side, tingling in extremities, muscle cramps, mood swings, sore throat, and tinnitus.

Less common side effects—which should always be reported to the prescribing doctor—include severe stomach pain, loss of muscle coordination, pounding headache, hallucinations, seizures, body tremors, and irregular heartbeat.

How is medical fentanyl used?

Fentanyl is prescribed primarily in cases of severe and incurable pain, typically in a hospital setting. Cancer patients who have been declared terminal are frequent prescription recipients. Some fentanyl versions are used as large-animal tranquilizers because potent doses are inexpensive.

Fentanyl and its analogues are so potent that professionals handle them only under extremely controlled conditions. Law-enforcement officials investigating suspected fentanyl labs often use the same hazmat protection that’s standard for toxic chemical spills.

How is illicit fentanyl used by people?

Because fentanyl is typically prescribed in patch form to patients who feel any pain relief would be an improvement, fewer addictions start as legitimate prescriptions than with many other drugs. There’s a bigger risk if prescriptions are furnished in the easily consumable, easily alterable pill form. Someone really desperate for a stronger, faster effect might heat a patch to make it release fentanyl faster, or rip it open to get to the whole dose at once.

More commonly, illicit fentanyl is purchased as a street drug—either alone or as part of a heroin mix—and snorted, injected, or taken as a pill. Sometimes it’s used to saturate blotter paper, which is then placed under the tongue.

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