Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid analgesic. The brand names of fentanyl for oral use include Abstral, Actiq, Fentora and Onsolis, which are lozenges, films and tablets. Fentanyl transdermal patches include the brand names Duragesic and Ionsys.
Fentanyl is a Schedule II controlled substance in the United States, which means it has been accepted for medical use and has a high potential for addiction. Fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more effective than morphine.
If you are not sure how much you have taken, it is easy to overdose. Fentanyl as low as 2 mg can be fatal. It has also been found to use new fentanyl analogs that are more effective than fentanyl. Although fentanyl does not pass standard drug tests for testing, it is tested by specific employers.
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 28,400 people died in 2017 due to overdose of synthetic opioids other than methadone. The CDC continues to quote the National Center for Health Statistics that fentanyl was mentioned in 29% of all drug overdose deaths in 2016, an increase of 1045% from 2012.
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How long does it take to feel the effect?
Fentanyl is offered to opioid-tolerant pain patients in the form of lozenges or transdermal patches, and is sometimes sold under the brand name Duragesic. Acute effects of fentanyl may include:
- relief the pain
The lozenge works quickly. With the patch, it may take several hours to start to feel the effect. If you feel that it is not effective immediately, please do not apply additional patches.
How long can fentanyl last?
Fentanyl patches range from 12 to 100 micrograms per hour and are usually replaced every 72 hours. Fentanyl is mainly broken down into norfentanyl in the liver, and most of it is excreted by the kidneys.
According to a study, norfentanyl can be detected up to four days after the last use.Fentanyl can be detected by urine, hair and blood tests. Drug tests commonly used to detect fentanyl usually use chromatography and mass spectrometry techniques.
Fentanyl can show up in blood tests between 5 and 48 hours after the last use.
You can test positive for fentanyl in a urine test within one to three days after you last used fentanyl. This is the most commonly used test by employers.
Employers do not use hair tests frequently, but fentanyl can be detected up to three months after the last use.
False positive test
The presence of Benadryl (diphenhydramine) and some other drugs may cause false positives for fentanyl. Let your testing agency know if you have recently taken Benadryl or any other drugs, if they want to test you for opioids. If you are already taking fentanyl and must undergo a urine drug screening, it is also wise to disclose this information to the testing laboratory.
Factors affecting detection time
Although none of these factors significantly affect how long a person must stop using the drug to be tested negative, the duration of fentanyl in the body depends on several factors.
- Dosage: The more fentanyl in the body, the longer it will take to completely eliminate it from the body.
- Metabolism: Impaired kidney or liver function can slow down the metabolism of fentanyl.
- Patch location: The difference in the thickness of skin and subcutaneous fat throughout the body means that the absorption rate of fentanyl varies depending on where the patch is placed.
How to remove fentanyl from your system
Drinking plenty of water, exercise, and other dispelling myths will not help you remove fentanyl or other opioids from the system to pass the drug test. The only way to get fentanyl out of your system is to stop taking the drug and give your body time to metabolize and eliminate it.
If you want to remove fentanyl from your body because you feel you are taking too much, and you don’t want to face the risk of stopping breathing, seek medical attention immediately.
Although Narcan (naloxone) is a nasal spray used to treat opioid overdose in emergencies, it will not actually clear fentanyl from your system, but using it will block opioids in the body Receptor, causing you to withdraw. This is unpleasant, but definitely preferable to overdose.
Symptoms of overdose
Fentanyl may have dangerous cross-reactions with other sedatives, such as Xanax (alprazolam), Klonopin (clonazepam), Ativan (lorazepam) and alcohol, which amplify their inhibitory effects on the central nervous system . The following are the symptoms of an overdose of opioids such as fentanyl:
- Awake and unable to speak
- Very soft body
- Changes in skin color (people with darker skin will look gray or off-white, people with lighter skin will look bluish-purple)
- Pale or clammy
- Nails and lips turn blue or purplish black
- Loss of consciousness
- Pulse (heartbeat) is slow, unstable, or non-existent
- Make a snoring-like grunt or “death rattle”, suffocation
- No response to external stimuli
- Very slow, shallow, unstable or stop breathing
Emergency cases of overdose should be treated immediately with naloxone. Naloxone is available at many pharmacies and your local health department. If many people in your area are using illegally purchased opiates or drugs that may be mixed with fentanyl, it is best to carry naloxone. You can save a life.
Fentanyl is very effective and it is strongly recommended not to deviate from your prescribed dose, because even a little more will significantly amplify the effect and increase the risk of overdose.
Fentanyl has a high risk of dependence, even when taken as prescribed. If you stop taking fentanyl suddenly, you may experience opioid withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, muscle aches, excessive sweating, and insomnia. Withdrawal can start 6 to 30 hours after your last dose and can last up to 10 days.
If you want to stop taking fentanyl, please consult your doctor. Dependence on fentanyl or other opioids is not a cause of shame. Tell someone you trust and seek support.
When opioids such as fentanyl are stopped, your doctor may prescribe other drugs to relieve withdrawal symptoms and prevent breakout pain. Opioid addiction can also be treated with other medications that help shorten and relieve withdrawal symptoms. Treatment options for opioid use disorder include:
- Drug-assisted treatment (MAT) with buprenorphine or methadone
- Harm reduction psychotherapy
- A program designed to help you get rid of opioids in a sustainable way
If you have chronic pain and are worried about stopping medication, your healthcare provider can work with you to relieve the pain, which is not a problem for your substance use disorder.
If you cannot stop using or participate in a treatment plan, make sure to use harm reduction methods:
- Take only the dose you prescribed
- Pursue safe supply
- Use prescriptions instead of buying substances of unknown purity
- Find a safe space to use, where you can be supervised
- Let relatives who carry and know how to use naloxone know that you are using it