Fentanyl: Mental effects

Last modified: Sunday, 31. May 2009 - 3:32 pm

Generally speaking, fentanyl acts on the central nervous system and the gastrointestinal tract. Because of this, most of the effects of the drug are physical. It also causes many of the same effects as heroin, including euphoria and drowsiness. However, some research shows that the effects of heroin are more euphoric, and fentanyl is more analgesic.
During surgery fentanyl is used as an analgesic. Analgesia by definition is an absence of pain. Therefore, fentanyl causes the brain to not feel pain. Or, clinically speaking, analgesia refers to a reduction in the intensity of pain perceived. It is the goal of the anesthesiologist to make the pain as tolerable as possible without undue respiratory depression of the patient. Analgesia may be induced by interrupting the nociceptive process at one or more points between the peripheral nociceptor and the cerebral cortex. In this respect, fentanyl tricks the mind. It imitates natural peptides found in the body (such as endorphins) and stimulates a cellular response.
The receptor most affected by fentanyl is the mu receptor in the brain, which is substantially involved with addiction potential. This is why fentanyl can be so addictive to some people.
Rarely, high amounts of fentanyl have also been known to cause hallucinations. This does not happen in prescribed doses. However, people who misapply the transdermal patch and get large amounts of the drug on their hands without immediately washing them can have hallucinations. The patch can also sometimes release erratic levels of the drug into the system due to poor adhesion of the patch or exposure to too much of the drug in one location. For this reason, wearers of the patch need to rotate the patch often, but the patch can be difficult to accurately affix due to sweating and hair follicles.
Hallucinations often occur from street forms of the drug. This is because users usually take larger dosages and have less tolerance. Also, users of the designer drugs generally inhale or inject the drug, so larger quantities hit the receptors at one time.

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