addiction treatment

Short and Long Term Effects of Fentanyl

Jump to a section

Fentanyl has many different effects on its users. Read this blog to find out what fentanyl is, its long and short term effects, and fentanyl overdose treatment options.

What is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid medication primarily used for pain management, especially in cases of severe pain, surgical procedures, and chronic conditions like cancer-related pain. It is 50 to 100 times stronger [1] than other opioids like morphine and heroin. Fentanyl works by binding to opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord, effectively reducing the perception of pain.

Fentanyl can come in various forms, including patches, lozenges, injectable formulations, and even illicitly manufactured forms. In recent years, there has been growing concern about illicitly produced fentanyl, which is sometimes mixed with other drugs or sold on the black market. Illicit fentanyl is associated with a significant risk of overdose and death due to its strength.

Back to top

What Are the Long-Term Effects of Fentanyl?

Some of the potential long-term effects of fentanyl use include:

Tolerance and Dependence: With continued use, the body may develop a tolerance to fentanyl, requiring higher doses to achieve the same effects. Dependence on fentanyl can also develop, leading to withdrawal symptoms when the drug is not taken.

Addiction: Prolonged use of fentanyl can lead to addiction, characterized by compulsive drug-seeking behavior despite negative consequences. Addiction can significantly impact a person's life, relationships, and well-being.

Respiratory Issues: Fentanyl and other opioids can depress the respiratory system, leading to breathing difficulties, shallow breathing, and even respiratory failure over time.

Cardiovascular Problems: Opioid use, including fentanyl, can lead to cardiovascular issues such as irregular heartbeats, low blood pressure, and an increased risk of heart-related complications.

Emotional Issues: Long-term use of fentanyl can lead to feelings of unease, melancholy and other emotional disorders.

Osteopathy: Using fentanyl long-term amongst older individuals can lead to bone fractures.

Neurological Effects: Chronic use of fentanyl can affect cognitive functions, including memory, attention, and decision-making. It may also lead to changes in brain structure and function.

Gastrointestinal Issues: Opioids can cause constipation, which can become a chronic issue with long-term use.

Immune System Suppression: Prolonged opioid use can weaken the immune system, making individuals more susceptible to infections and illnesses.

Hormonal Imbalances: Opioid use can disrupt hormone production and regulation, potentially leading to issues such as  reduced libido, fertility problems, and changes in mood.

Social and Legal Consequences: Long-term opioid use, especially when it turns into addiction, can lead to strained relationships, loss of employment, financial difficulties, and legal problems.

Overdose and Death: Continued use of fentanyl increases the risk of accidental overdose, which can be fatal due to its potent nature and potential to depress the respiratory system.

Back to top

What Are the Short-Term Effects of Using Fentanyl?

Some short-term results of using fentanyl are:

  • Immediate pain relief
  • Euphoria
  • Confusion
  • Fatigue
  • Constriction of pupils (small black dots inside your eyes)
  • Nausea
  • Throwing up
  • Slowed breathing
  • Constipation

How Does Fentanyl Make You Feel?

These are some of the effects that fentanyl generates:

  • Relaxation
  • Euphoria
  • Pain relief
  • Sedation
  • Bewilderment
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness (vertigo)
  • Queasiness and vomiting
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Constricted pupils
  • Suppressed breathing

If you or a loved one suffer from fentanyl abuse, don't hesitate to turn to us at Avenues Recovery so we can guide you on the road to recovery.

Back to top

What Are The Side Effects of Fentanyl?

Some common side effects of fentanyl are:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Sweating
  • Dry mouth

 Less common side effects of fentanyl include:

  • Confusion
  • Mood changes (like anxiety and depression)
  • Hallucinations
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Respiratory depression (slow and shallow breathing)

 

What Does Fentanyl Do to the Body In More Severe Cases?

These are some things that fentanyl does to the body in more severe cases:

  • Respiratory arrest (breathing stops completely)
  • Low blood pressure
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Seizures
  • Allergic reactions (rash, itching, swelling, severe dizziness)
  • Hypersensitivity reactions
  • Increased intracranial pressure (potentially causing severe headaches and vision changes)
  • Adrenal insufficiency (especially with long-term use)
  • Opioid use disorder or addiction
  • Withdrawal symptoms when discontinuing the medication

Back to top

What Are Some Mental Effects of Fentanyl?

These are some potential mental effects of fentanyl:

  • Euphoria
  • Relaxation
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Impaired judgment
  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Memory problems
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Intense cravings
  • Emotional numbing
  • Impaired cognitive function
  • Risk of overdose and respiratory depression, leading to unconsciousness or coma, which can severely impact mental function

Back to top

What Are The Effects of A Fentanyl Overdose?

An excessive dose of fentanyl can result in :

  • drowsiness
  • constricted pupils
  • moist skin
  • bluish discoloration
  • Loss of consciousness
  • breathing difficulties that may lead to death

When all three symptoms—unconsciousness, constricted pupils, and slowed breathing—are present together, it strongly indicates opioid poisoning.

What is Fentanyl Overdose Treatment?

Naloxone Administration: Naloxone (Narcan) is a medication that can rapidly reverse the effects of opioid overdose, including fentanyl. It works by blocking the opioid receptors in the brain and reversing the depression of the central nervous system. Naloxone can be administered intranasally, intramuscularly, or intravenously. It's important to administer naloxone as soon as possible if an overdose is suspected.

Supportive Care: Once naloxone is administered, the individual should be closely monitored. Supportive care may include providing oxygen therapy, assisting with breathing if necessary, and maintaining vital signs.

Medical Attention: Anyone who has experienced a fentanyl overdose should seek immediate medical attention, even if naloxone has been administered and the person appears to have improved. There's a risk of the opioid's effects returning once the naloxone wears off, so medical supervision is crucial.

Reversal Duration: It's important to note that the effects of naloxone may wear off before the effects of fentanyl do. Therefore, medical professionals will often continue to monitor and provide care to the individual even after naloxone administration.

Long-Term Care: Following an overdose, individuals are often referred to addiction treatment and counseling services to address the underlying issues related to opioid use and to prevent future overdoses.

No one deserves to live a life controlled by addiction! Recovery and a life of sobriety is entirely possible under the right care and treatment plan. If you or a loved one suffer from fentanyl abuse, know that there is hope! Reach out to us  at Avenues Recovery so that our professional and caring addiction specialist can  guide and support  you on the road to recovery. Contact us today to hear about our highly effective treatment plans, which are all personalized to give you the best chance at recovery.

Back to top

Sources

[1] www.dea.gov

Check your insurance

Thanks,
We received your insurance request!

We will get back to you shortly. While you wait... you may find our resource blog helpful. Take a look below:

VIEW ALL ADDICTION RESOURCES