Monthly Archives: March 2016

Topic: Fentanyl, and herbal interactions with drug analgesics

fentanyl

So this week I am focusing on the drug called Fentanyl.  There has been recent cases of teens dying when sorting coke lanced with Fentanyl or taking Fentanyl pills as a way to get high. Fentanyl is extremely potent and usually only used for severe and sudden pain experienced by cancer patients that are not responding to pain medication throughout treatment.

 “Fentanyl may cause serious breathing problems or death if it is used by people who are not being treated with other narcotic medications or who are not tolerant to narcotic medications.”——– 2016 The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc.

“Fentanyl is used to treat breakthrough pain (sudden episodes of pain that occur despite round the clock treatment with pain medication) in cancer patients at least 18 years of age (or at least 16 years of age if taking Actiq brand lozenges) who are taking regularly scheduled doses of another narcotic (opiate) pain medication, and who are tolerant (used to the effects of the medication) to narcotic pain medications. Fentanyl is in a class of medications called narcotic (opiate) analgesics. It works by changing the way the brain and nervous system respond to pain.”——— 2016 The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc.

Side effects:

  • drowsiness
  • nausea
  • stomach pain
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • gas
  • heartburn
  • loss of appetite
  • weight loss
  • difficulty urinating
  • weakness
  • headache
  • changes in vision
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • hallucinations (seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist)
  • unusual thinking
  • unusual dreams
  • difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
  • dry mouth
  • sweating
  • sudden reddening of the face, neck, or upper chest
  • uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body
  • back pain
  • chest pain
  • pain, sores, or irritation in the mouth in the area where you placed the medication
  • swelling of the hands, arms, feet, ankles, or lower legs

Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately:

  • heartbeat that is slower or faster than normal
  • seizures
  • hives
  • rash
  • itching

If you experience any of these symptoms, stop using fentanyl and call your doctor immediately or get emergency medical treatment:

  • slow, shallow breathing
  • decreased urge to breathe
  • difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • extreme drowsiness
  • dizziness
  • confusion
  • fainting

——– 2016 The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc.

I am not going to research herbal alternatives to Fentanyl, as using narcotics/opiates from any source for recreational use is just plain dumb.  

I feel education about potential herbal interactions, whilst taking pain medications, is needed and useful for those who coincide supplements (herbal or nutritional) and pharmaceutical narcotics like analgesics.  This allows the patient to have a better understanding of his or her health, thus giving greater educated freedom when using pharmaceuticals, and hopefully allowing for better choices when combining treatments.

Article:  Herbal medication potential for adverse interactions with analgesic drugs article

“the category of
alternative ⁄ complementarymedicines and, as such,
are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration
(FDA) with the same scrutiny as conventional
drugs”, (2002 pg.1 Abebe, W)

“health-care professionals will
encounter more often than before patients who use
herbal supplements and who may seek their help
concerning herb–drug interactions”, (2002 pg.2 Abebe, W)

This is a super interesting article that outlines a variety of herbs, their constituents, as well as, their actions, and how they affect or are affected by the combined use of pharmaceutical analgesics.  Its a good summary, but there are always limitations when it comes to the research and study procedures, which are outlined on the last page of the summary.

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoy this article.  Be aware and eat with care 🙂

Refs:  

Picture:  http://www.ocalapost.com/dea-warning-about-the-schedule-ii-narcotic-fentanyl/, 2014 Ocala Post, a subsidiary of Jaguar Media Holdings, LLC.

Fentanyl use and side effects: 2016 The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a605043.html

Article:  Abebe, W 2002, ‘Herbal medication: potential for adverse interactions with analgesic drugs’, Journal Of Clinical Pharmacy & Therapeutics, 27, 6, pp. 391-401, Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost, viewed 6 March 2016.