Fentanyl (sometimes spelled fentanil) is a synthetic opioid that is used as a painkiller. It also acts as a sedative. It has a short duration of action and a rapid onset. The two most common forms are patches that are put on the skin, and an intravenous solution. Paul Janssen developed Fentanyl in 1960. Fentanyl is about 120 times as potent as morphine; this means, much less Fentanyl is needed to get the same effect.
The effects of the intravenous solution can be seen after three to five minutes. In about twelve hours, the concentration in the bloodstream will have halved.
Fentanyl is also used as a recreational drug. This has led to thousands of overdose deaths each year from 2000 to 2015. Deaths have also resulted from improper medical use. Fentanyl has a relatively wide therapeutic index (270) which makes it a very safe surgical anesthetic when monitored carefully. Because it is so potent, finding the right dose to use requires great care: Fentanyl comes as a highly diluted solution. There is also a powder, but its use is impractical without advanced scientific equipment: The effective dose needed and a lethal dose of fentanyl powder placed next to each other would be difficult or impossible to differentiate with the naked eye.
References[change | change source]
- "'It is a huge issue': 145 fentanyl-related deaths in Alberta so far in 2015". globalnews.ca. August 11, 2015. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
- Vestal, Christine (1 April 2016). "As Fentanyl Deaths Spike, States and CDC Respond". Pew Charitable Trusts. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
- Serna, Joseph; Karlamangla, Soumya. "Death toll rises to 9 in suspected fentanyl overdoses in Northern California". latimes.com. The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2016-04-01.
- Stanley, Theodore Henry; Petty, William Clayton (1983-03-31). New Anesthetic Agents, Devices, and Monitoring Techniques. Springer. ISBN 978-90-247-2796-4. Retrieved 20 October 2007.