How Effective is Fentanyl & What are Its Side Effects?

Fentanyl belongs to the category of opioids that are commonly known as narcotics. In medical science, it is primarily used as anesthesia to prevent the pain post-surgery. However, fentanyl can also be used in several other procedures not mentioned in the medical guide.

How Fentanyl Works?

Fentanyl is very helpful in easing off severe pain. Experts are still trying to find out how exactly it works but it surely affects the mu-opioid receptors to eliminate the feeling of pain in the body.

How Effective is Fentanyl?

How Effective is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is an effective medication for suppressing various degree of pain ranging from moderate to severe pain. It works effectively even in those cases of pain where less-potent pain relievers do not work well.

Fentanyl is available in various forms including nasal spray, transdermal patch, sublingual (under-the-tongue) tablet or spray, injection etc… to suit the requirements of the situation.

  • The various forms of Fentanyl work differently and the choice of the best option depends on the situation. For instance, fentanyl injections are used as anesthesia to suppress pain after a surgery. For managing constant pain, Fentanyl patches are very useful. In the case of break-through type cancer pain, Sublingual sprays or tablets work best.
  • It is important to note that various forms of Fentanyl are not equivalent in terms of dosage. For instance, 25mcg of fentanyl injection would affect than a 25mcg fentanyl patch. Thus, you must be careful about replacing one form with the other as it may result into overdose.
  • Fentanyl works differently than most of pain relievers in the sense that its pain relieving effect in the body can be increased with the dosage without any limit. Most other pain relievers have a ceiling effect i.e. increasing the dosage after one point does not have any positive response.
  • Fentanyl products must be disposed carefully and properly to ensure as even a small amount of it can lead to death of a pet or children.
  • Fentanyl products can only be obtained if you have enrolled for TIRF REMS Access program. Also, only those pharmacies that are enrolled with this program can supply fentanyl products.
  • It is necessary to maintain a gap of minimum 30 minutes between two doses of short-acting fentanyl products.
  • Do not share fentanyl with anyone in your family or friends as it may even cause death due to over dosage.
  • Stay away from operating machinery or driving any vehicle if are taking fentanyl in any form.
  • Refer to your doctor before mixing fentanyl with any tranquilizers, alcohol or sleeping aids.
  • Store fentantyl properly in special fentanyl storage boxes to keep them away from the easy access or pets and children.

The response and effectiveness is excellent. The time required by your body to respond to fentanyl will mainly depend of the particular form of fentanyl. Sublingual tablets take least time to respond. It takes just about 15-30 minutes for body to respond to sublingual tablets while patches may take up to 3 hours to trigger the response.

What are the Side Effects of Fentanyl?

The common side effects of Fentanyl those are applicable in the case of patients who are between 18 and 60 years of age and are not taking any other medication are as follows:

  • Some of the common side effects of Fentanyl include sedation, constipation, vomiting, nausea, dizziness, shortness of breath, lack of energy and abdominal distention.
  • Some other side effects include red yes, itching, sweating, low blood pressure and flushing.
  • It is strongly restricted to be used in case of people that have never been given an opioid analgesic.
  • You cannot get fentanyl easily from any pharmacy. Only a few certified pharmacies sell it and that too under special program.
  • Fentanyl is a strong pain reliever that is 100 times stronger than morphine. Different forms of fentanyl differ significantly in their effect on the body even when used in the same dosage. Thus, it is very hard to determine the right dosage of fentanyl for an ordinary person.
  • Fentanyl is addictive in nature. Thus, it is important it is used as the last measure for relieving pain i.e., in the case where other pain relievers fail to show any positive response. It is most useful in the case of chronic pain. It must not be used in normal cases of pain such as migraines and headaches.
  • Fentanyl is very harmful if taken in large amount accidently. There are several cases where pets and children have died due to accidental intake of this drug. Thus, it must be kept away from the reach of pets and children.
  • In some cases, the use of fentanyl products may lead to fatal breathing problems. It is more likely in the case of patients who have not used opioids before.
  • Fentanyl is strong substance for drug abuse and thus must be kept away from the people addicted to drugs.
  • The use of fentanyl can make it difficult to concentrate and thus it can be unsafe to drive or operate any machinery.

It is unsafe for people who have any type of respiratory diseases.

In case you notice any of the side-effects or signs of allergy, you must report it immediately to your doctor. The common side-effects of fentanyl include swelling on lips, tongue, throat and face. It can also cause difficulty in breathing. The reduced rate of breathing may also lead to death.

Some side-effects of fentanyl can go off by simply stopping the dosage while others would require proper attention and treatment. The choice of the best treatment option depends on the type of side-effects.

Some common side effects of fentanyl are as follows:


Fentanyl is very effective drug for relieving intense pain. It can be safely used in the case of people who have been prescribed opioid-type pain relievers before. Improper dosage of fentanyl can lead to abuse or even death.

Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 10, 2017

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