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Table of Contents
- What is Actiq?
- What is an Actiq (Fentanyl) High Like?
- Can Someone Overdose on Actiq (Fentanyl)?
- Mixing Actiq (Fentanyl) With Other Drugs
- Fentanyl use Statistics in the United States
- Actiq (Fentanyl) Withdrawal Symptoms
- Actiq (Fentanyl) Addiction Treatment Options
- More Information About Actiq (Fentanyl) Recovery Options
What is Actiq?
Actiq (fentanyl citrate) is a strong pain reliever that patients can only get with a prescription. This drug is prescribed to patients with severe pain who are already using opioid pain relievers all day. Actiq is not for people who have had surgery or dental work. It is not used in emergency or accident situations.
Actiq is mostly prescribed to cancer patients who have breakthrough pain. Cancer patients with constant pain are already using opioid pain relievers throughout the day. Sometimes they may have a sudden increase in pain, this is called breakthrough pain.
Actiq comes as a fentanyl citrate lozenge on a plastic handle like a lollipop. Patients hold the lozenge in their mouth between their cheek and gum. The medicine dissolves and enters the bloodstream in about 15 minutes. This medicine is a controlled substance because it can be very addictive.
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What is an Actiq (Fentanyl) High Like?
Actiq is made of fentanyl. Fentanyl is a man-made strong opioid. It can be 50 to almost 100 times stronger than morphine. Like morphine or heroin, this drug attaches to the body’s opioid receptors.
When fentanyl binds to the opioid receptors in the brain levels of dopamine are increased. High dopamine levels have the following effects on the body:
- Relieves pain
- Produces a state of relaxation
- Decreases the feeling of suffering
- Creates feelings of euphoria (overwhelming feeling of joy or happiness)
Can Someone Overdose on Actiq (Fentanyl)?
Yes, it is possible to overdose on Actiq. If a patient does not follow the doctor’s directions, they could take too much Actiq. Actiq can slow down or stop someone’s breathing. This can lead to a person passing out, going into a coma, or death. This can happen very quickly to a person who has not used opioids before or children.
Other side effects of Actiq include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Severe Drowsiness
- Slow heart rate
- Extreme fear
- Unusual behavior, dreams, or thoughts
- Low cortisol levels
Mixing Actiq (Fentanyl) With Other Drugs
Patients should always tell their doctors about every medication they are using. They also need to talk about any vitamins, supplements, or illegal drugs they might be using. Serious medical problems can happen when some medications and drugs are used at the same time. This is also true for a patient using Actiq.
Actiq (fentanyl) can have many drug interactions. Mixing Actiq with sleeping pills or muscle relaxers can increase the risk of breathing problems and possibly cause someone to stop breathing. Medicines for depression or anxiety like Valium or Xanax can also increase the risk of breathing problems if used with Actiq.
Mixing Actiq with drugs for depression can also cause serotonin syndrome. Serotonin syndrome happens when there is too much serotonin in the body. When a patient is taking more than one medication that results in high serotonin levels it is dangerous. This can also happen by using Actiq and medications for Parkinson’s disease or migraine headaches.
Actiq (Fentanyl) and Alcohol
Alcohol is a depressant drug. It slows down the central nervous system. Combining any opioid with alcohol makes the effects of both stronger. This can lead to an overdose and death. No one should use Actiq and alcohol. Patients also need to be careful to avoid over-the-counter medications that may contain alcohol.
Fentanyl use Statistics in the United States
Fentanyl was originally created as an opioid pain medication, but now it is made illegally by many drug dealers. Almost 500,000 people have died from opioid overdoses from 1999-2019. This number includes prescription opioids and illegal opioids. There was a large increase in 2013 of overdose deaths specifically related to fentanyl.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that more than 31,000 deaths in 2018 involved synthetic opioids. This was 67% of the opioid-involved deaths in 2018. This was more than any other kind of opioid.
The CDC also reported that overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids, including fentanyl, increased over 16% from 2018 to 2019. More than 36,000 people died from overdoses related to fentanyl in 2019. Early reports suggest that number could be even higher for 2020.
Actiq (Fentanyl) Withdrawal Symptoms
Even though Actiq is a prescription medication from a doctor people can become addicted and have withdrawal symptoms. Patients must be very careful to follow their doctor’s directions when stopping an opioid prescription. When a person has been using an opioid drug for a long time their brain has become used to it.
When they stop using the opioid the brain and body have to adjust to the drug not being there. Withdrawal symptoms happen during this adjustment period. Opioid withdrawal symptoms are similar for each kind of opioid, including a prescription like Actiq. Withdrawal symptoms include:
- Increased heart rate
- Aching muscles
- Fever and chills
- Anxiety or agitation
- Stomach pain
- Nausea and vomiting
Actiq (Fentanyl) Addiction Treatment Options
If someone has an addiction to fentanyl, they may consider going through a detox program to help manage withdrawal symptoms. Some detox programs can use medications to help make the withdrawal symptoms less severe. This is helpful, but detox is only the first step to recovery.
People need to go through a recovery program for opioid addictions. When a person has cleared all of the drugs from their body their tolerance level goes down. This means if they start using again, they could overdose on a smaller amount of the drug than they used to take.
Actiq (Fentanyl) Treatment Program Options
The detox process is only the first step to fentanyl addiction recovery. People have to change their behavior patterns, so they do not start using the drug again. There are different kinds of treatment choices. Each person should talk to a professional to decide what will work best for them. Types of treatment programs include:
Inpatient treatment– This is the highest level of care. Patients may go from detox straight to inpatient services. People at this level of care live full time at the treatment program, sleeping, eating, and doing therapy without leaving the facility. The most common length of stay is twenty-eight days.
Partial hospitalization programs– (PHPs) This type of treatment can also be called a day treatment program. This type of program is the most intensive outpatient program. These programs meet five to seven days a week for several hours a day. Afterward, the patient returns home. This type of program can be good for someone who is recovering from addiction but does not require twenty-four-hour supervision.
Intensive Outpatient Programs- (IOP) This style of outpatient treatment is good for people who need more than a once-a-week counseling session. IOPs usually meet three to four times a week for approximately three hours at a time. The primary focus is group therapy, but individual counseling is available if needed.
Traditional Outpatient Therapy- This is the least restrictive type of therapy. Patients can meet with a counselor once a week or several times a week depending on the amount of care they need. This is usually the best option for someone who has already been through more involved therapy but can still benefit from counseling sessions.
Sober living homes- A sober living home is a residence for people in recovery with some rules that need to be followed. Residents are required to pay rent and their own expenses and be part of an outpatient treatment program. There are no drugs or alcohol allowed at the house and residents may need to do occasional drug tests.
12-step programs- These are peer support groups. The most well-known are Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. These groups do not include professional counseling, they are peer-led. They can be very helpful in the recovery process.
More Information About Actiq (Fentanyl) Recovery Options
At SpringBoard Recovery, we have helped many people overcome addiction. This includes addictions to fentanyl. We have flexible options for people to individualize the treatment they need to recover. We help people design the best individualized programs that will work for them. Some types of therapy we offer include:
No person should have to feel like they are stuck in an addiction. Prescription drugs like Actiq help people but sometimes, they can become addictive. SpringBoard Recovery wants to help each person recover and live their best life.
If you or someone you love is struggling with a fentanyl addiction, help is out there. You can get more information about treatment options with SpringBoard Recovery. Please contact us today.
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- National Cancer Institute: https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms/def/breakthrough-pain
- United States Drug Enforcement Administration: https://www.dea.gov/drug-information/drug-scheduling
- National Institute on Drug Abuse: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/fentanyl
- Medical News Today: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/308156#what-is-fentanyl
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- Medicine Net: https://www.medicinenet.com/dangers_of_mixing_medications/views.htm
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- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/opioids/data/analysis-resources.html
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/deaths/synthetic/index.html
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/opioids/basics/fentanyl.html
- Medical News Today: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/326223
- National Library of Medicine: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10106610/
- NCBI: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64094/
- Alcoholics Anonymous: https://www.aa.org/
- Narcotics Anonymous: https://www.na.org/