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.

 

Blog.8: Fun visits and out gardening

So I didn’t post last week because I went to visit my friends and family in Calgary.  It was as expected, lots of fun times crammed into 3.5 days.  I love that I can go visit so easily now, and I was super excited to see my friend who is 1 month away from giving birth to her first child.  I also get the honor of being the godmother to my best friend’s kid!  Super excited.  So that was the highlight of last week, and this week was work at the pharmacy, and then some much needed gardening.  Growing-up in Calgary I never planted anything or had a garden of my own. Now that I live on the west coast, spring has already sprung! And I am able to plant in the garden beds my lovely boyfriend re-vamped.  We probably have enough bed space to potentially grow all our veggies for the whole summer, if weather permits, and the deer don’t eat the seedlings.  I guess that’s a huge problem here.  So we shall see how it goes.  I hope to have a lovely array of culinary herbs on my balcony, as well as, growing eggplant, tomatoes, and a variety of peppers in the greenhouse we made out of poly and PVC piping.  We found out over the last week that bamboo was actually cheaper and more environmentally friendly, and that we could have made the green-house from that, but oh well, maybe next time, or a suggestion to others looking to build a cheap green-house.

In other matters, I start serving again this week to make some extra cash on the side.  I don’t know if I am that happy about it, and we will see how it goes.  At least it’s a fine dining restaurant rather than a pub, which is where I have mostly worked, but I just feel very underwhelmed working in the hospitality industry again.  But, like I said in my last, fairly dismal reality check blog, I need more money then I am making at the moment in the industry I really want to be a part of (medical industry, not just pharmaceuticals).  Anyways, I guess I have to do what I gotta do.

What else… I have sent in all my transcripts from the numerous colleges and universities over the years into Thompson Rivers University.  I’m seeing if I have enough credits to get awarded a degree, and if not then I am thinking of finishing a degree through Open Learning, as well as, doing the pre-req’s to be able to get into the Boucher Institute for Naturopathic Doctors, which is a dream/goal of mine.  I’m a little torn between doing the East-West Herbalist course and finishing my degree, because finishing my degree would mean that I would eventually move into Vancouver, where as the herbalist course would allow me to stay here, so it’s still up in the air at this point.  I’m going to wait and see how this year goes, and how close I am to a degree, and then go from there.  So that’s about it for now.  I start a new week, with new thoughts, goals, and expectations.  I look less forward to work and more forward to meditation, reading, making bread and gardening, but I guess everyone looks forward to doing hobbies rather then working, especially if you get paid as little as I do!  Haha. Anyways, hope your week is filled with more you time, it makes for greater inner peace, which is never a bad thing.  Thanks for reading, and be aware and eat with care 🙂