During my years doing medical device research and development, I had the opportunity of working on a device that electronically dosed Fentanyl into your body through your skin. In essence it was an electronic Fentanyl patch. The technology was fairly simple but delivering accurate doses of Fentanyl was the challenge. This pain patch was designed for uses in a hospital or rehabilitation environment and not anyone to consume. It was strictly for recovery from surgery or injury. The unique concept is the timer so you couldn’t overdoses nor abuse the drug. It is actually a great product.
What is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is a very potent synthetic opioid which is also known as Duragesic. To give you a perspective, Fentanyl is about 100 times stronger than morphine and stronger than heroin. However, the high that Fentanyl produces comes quickly but is short lasting. One of the main uses is for pain management primarily with surgeries or cancer. Recently it has been adopted to be used for the terminally ill at the end of their lives.
The most common form found is that of a patch. Think of it just like a nicotine patch. Transdermal patches seem to be the preferred choice of drug delivery. These patches are administered onto the skin where the provide a long lasting (48-72 hours) of drug delivery. These patches come in handy since patients no longer need to walk around with an IV and tubes that have to be inserted into your body.
Fentanyl Side Effects
Being an opioid, Fentanyl is just as addictive as other opioids. The opportunity exists that you can overdose. I wouldn’t be surprised if a person placed 10 patches on their body. Then there are such side effects as diarrhea, nausea, constipation, abdominal pain, confusion, dizziness, weight loss, fatigue and hallucinations to name a few. Also add to the fact that the use of Fentanyl has been linked to a higher rate of respiratory deaths than other drugs.
The new medical devices being developed are electronic transdermal patches that control the amount of Fentanyl transferred into the body from the patch. It uses electronic pulses to transfer Fentanyl onto the skin for delivery. These patches are tamper resistant and can only dose one time over certain period of time. The active ingredient is placed in a gel that can’t be broken down nor purified unlike a tablet. This makes it easier to monitor the drug delivery and reduce the chances of abuse. Think of the convenience for a patient when being moved around for tests from section to section. Just pull the patch, scan on an MRI machine and place it back afterwards.
Have you used a Fentanyl patch?