Tag Archives: Prescription Drug Overdose

Carfentanil Vs Fentanyl: Are They Different?

Despite the similarity of their names, carfentanil and fentanyl are two substances with differing effects on the human body. Though they share a similar opioid base, they have profoundly different medical applications.

Additionally, the illicit use of carfentanil and fentanyl highlight a few more differences between the two–namely, the fact that carfentanil is a significantly more potent substance than fentanyl. This distinction is important in the medical field, as well as illicit use.

Fentanyl Citrate, Duragesic, Sublimaze, Actiq – What Are They?

Fentanyl citrate is the citrate salt of fentanyl, a prescription pain medication that doctors prescribe under the brand names Duragesic, Actiq, and Sublimaze. Fentanyl belongs to a family of drugs called opioids, which include painkillers that suppress the brain’s release of noradrenaline.

Put simply, these substances cause the brain to produce less “wakefulness” neurotransmitters, and the body relaxes as a result. This is a helpful chemical process for killing pain in medical patients. However, the effect is also highly addictive, and opioid addictions are quick to form.

To get a clear perspective of just how powerful carfentanil is, it’s helpful to use related substances to describe a relative scale of potency.

If morphine is a “1” on the scale of potency, then fentanyl falls at around the “100” mark. For a patient to receive the same pain-killing effect that fentanyl produces in a single dose, they would need to have 100 doses of that size of morphine.

While opioids like fentanyl can be invaluable for killing pain, they are highly addictive

The main reason for the potency disparity between these two is the fact that morphine is derived directly from the plant while fentanyl is a further processed, synthetic form of morphine.

Manufacturers extract opium from the poppy plant to produce the basic form of morphine. Since morphine is derived directly from the organic matter, its strength is limited by natural growing factors.

Fentanyl, on the other hand, is synthetically produced through chemical means. Factories producing fentanyl do so for the express goal of making a pain-killing chemical.

While this potentially makes it a more effective treatment in its proper application, it also means fentanyl withdrawal is both more likely and severe.

Are Carfentanil and Fentanyl the Same Thing?

In a comparison of carfentanil vs fentanyl, the two drugs share some basic similarities, but are vastly different in application.

Like fentanyl, carfentanil is also in the opioid family. Studies have shown that there are small differences in how the brain responds to various types of opioids, but they affect the brain in the same basic way.

Both carfentanil and fentanyl are synthetic. Manufactured drugs are often more concentrated forms of the substance they are derived from–which means they are also more addictive.

This means that individuals who abuse the substance may be more likely to experience a fentanyl withdrawal or overdose.

The effects caused by fentanyl are 100 times more potent than those caused by morphine

Since more powerful substances require smaller amounts to reach overdose levels, it is all too easy for an addicted individual to mistakenly overdose on drugs like Duragesic, Sublimaze, or Actiq.

As the potency of the opioids becomes stronger and stronger, as little as a few micrograms could mean the difference between a life and death.

The main difference between carfentanil and fentanyl, however, is that of drug potency.

Going back to the scale where morphine is considered a level “1” in potency, and fentanyl is a level 100, carfentanil would be considered “100 times stronger” than fentanyl.

This means that it is 10,000 times more potent than morphine. Carfentanil’s intense power when compared to morphine makes the perspective incredibly difficult to convey.

It’s important to note that while fentanyl can be found in prescriptions like Sublimaze, carfentanil has no medical application in humans, but sometimes is used as a tranquilizer for herd animals or elephants.

Risks and Fentanyl Withdrawal

As with most substances, the risk involved when using fentanyl or carfentanil rises exponentially, especially in illicit circumstances.

These two substances are so powerful that individuals rarely consciously abuse them. However, drug distributors may mix either opioid with heroin or another substance, in order to produce an exceptionally strong drug.

This paves the way for many complex layers of addiction as users don’t truly know what they’re taking or how much. Additionally, the risk of overdose with even the most minute amount of fentanyl or carfentanil means that mixing them into heroin or other street drugs can be deadly.

As the potency of the opioids becomes stronger and stronger, as little as a few micrograms could mean the difference between a typical dose and an overdose

Fentanyl Withdrawal Symptoms

Whether someone has been using illicit forms of fentanyl or even prescription Duragesic, Sublimaze, or Actiq for a while, their bodies have likely formed a dependence. Full-blown addiction or not, they will likely experience some element of fentanyl withdrawal.

Common fentanyl withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Runny nose
  • Sweating
  • Weakness
  • Insomnia
  • Agitation and anxiety
  • Hot and cold flashes
  • Excessive yawning
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Muscles aches and/or joint pain
  • Stomach cramps and/or diarrhea

Symptoms usually begin within hours of the last dose and dissipate within a week. Days 2-4 tend to be the time when symptoms peak.

Detoxing alone is strongly discouraged and can severely increase not only fentanyl withdrawal symptoms, but is also more likely to lead to relapse.

Getting Help

Opioid addiction can be severe and dangerous. Dependence upon an opioid only worsens over time. Furthermore, developing a tolerance means that a person needs more and more of the substance to get their desired effect.

Fentanyl withdrawal symptoms can make it extremely difficult to stop permanently. This is why it is so important to seek professional guidance in detox and recovery from opioid addiction.

If you think you or a loved one is suffering from a substance use disorder, contact us today. Or, if you would like to read more about substance abuse risks or get some more information, read our blog.

What is a Seroquel Overdose Like?

Individuals suffering from schizophrenia or bipolar disorder may be prescribed Seroquel to treat symptoms of their condition. As an antipsychotic, this substance can help individuals who are experiencing psychotic symptoms of a medical condition. Off-label use of Seroquel, however, can develop into a substance use disorder (SUD). Long-term misuse of the substance can lead to health problems, as well as put the individual at risk of Seroquel overdose.

What Kind of Drug is Seroquel?

Seroquel, also known by its generic name quetiapine, belongs to a group of substances known as antipsychotics, or neuroleptics.

While opioids typically treat pain and stimulants may be prescribed to treat conditions like ADHD, neuroleptics are typically employed by medical professionals to treat the symptoms of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Specifically, symptoms like hallucinations, paranoia, delusions, or frantic thoughts can be helped with a neuroleptic prescription.

Though both have similar effects, neuroleptics fall into two main categories: One type (typical) affects dopamine neurotransmitters in the brain, while the other type (atypical), affects both dopamine and serotonin receptors.

In the brain, these chemicals are responsible for several aspects of life, including mood, appetite, and reward responses. While it might seem counterproductive to inhibit these chemicals in the brain, individuals who suffer from psychotic symptoms often have an overabundance of serotonin and dopamine, which means this method of action can have a balancing effect to help treat the individual’s symptoms. Quetiapine affects both dopamine and serotonin transmission, so it classifies as the second type of neuroleptic.

Hands holding pills and a pill bottle: Neuroleptics are typically employed by medical professionals to treat the symptoms of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Seroquel Half Life

The 6-hour-long Seroquel half life is somewhat short for prescription medications. This means that it typically takes six hours for the human body to chemically eliminate half of a given dose of quetiapine.

So, if a patient were to have a dose of 200mg, there would be 100mg left in their body after six hours had passed. In another 6 hours, there would be only 50mg. This process would repeat every six hours until the entire dose is eliminated from the body. Since the Seroquel half life is short, individuals with a prescription may need to take it daily in order to experience its effects continually.

Individuals who have a prescription for Seroquel may experience several side effects. Most of these effects are mild, but some serious effects can manifest by consuming Seroquel and alcohol simultaneously. The most common side effects of Seroquel include:

  • Tiredness
  • Sore Throat
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle Weakness
  • Weight Gain

Some individuals may also use the drug to self-medicate, or to treat an off-label condition that the FDA has not recognized quetiapine to treat. For instance, an individual may take advantage of the tiredness that often comes with taking Seroquel for sleep. However, using the substance for non-prescription purposes can lead to dangerous consequences or an unexpected interaction with another substance.

Illustration of a person exhibiting symptoms. Common side effects of Seroquel: tiredness, sore throat, dizziness, muscle weakness, weight gain.

Risks for Seroquel Overdose and Abuse

Quetiapine has had a history of abuse, but these reasons differ from the usual motivations for misuse. While some individuals may abuse a substance to experience euphoric effects or pleasant symptoms, abuse of this drug is usually the result of individuals consuming Seroquel for sleep loss or anxiety symptoms.

Seroquel for Sleep

Though more “innocent” than other reasons for prescription drug abuse, any inappropriate use of prescription medications can have uncomfortable consequences. Misuse also often forms a dependent relationship with the drug.

Individuals with a history of substance abuse may seek Seroquel as an alternative to their former addiction. Long-term use of the drug, however, can have detrimental effects on metabolism, weight gain, and blood fat content.

True addiction potential for Seroquel has yet to be measured. There have been multiple cases of individuals abusing or misusing Seroquel, but scientists have not yet determined if the substance can be physically addictive.

Notably, nearly all of the cases in which individuals misused Seroquel had previously suffered from a substance abuse disorder. Due to the nature of quetiapine abuse cases up to this point, it seems unlikely for someone to suddenly develop a Seroquel misuse problem. Rather, individuals who have had a history with substance abuse are most at risk of abusing the prescription drug.

Seroquel Overdose

Seroquel may, therefore, be low-risk in terms of addictive potential, and Seroquel overdose is also relatively low-risk. When compared to other similar neuroleptics, the list of Seroquel overdose symptoms is short.

While still potentially life-threatening for some individuals, the most dangerous Seroquel overdose symptoms recorded manifested as a high heart rate. Other symptoms included drowsiness and a weakened heart beat.

When compared to the life-threatening overdose symptoms of many other substances, quetiapine’s effects are relatively mild, even in high concentrations. However, these symptoms may be more serious when combined with other substances.

Since Seroquel abuse often occurs in individuals suffering from another substance abuse disorder, the potential for dangerous interactions may be more likely than normal.

Person handling a test tube: Scientists have not yet determined if Seroquel can be physically addictive.

Steps Toward Recovery

While Seroquel abuse is unlikely to develop by the drug alone, individuals who have a history with prescription drug abuse may be at risk of abuse. Though the side effects and Seroquel overdose symptoms may appear to be mild, substance misuse or abuse should always be taken seriously and addressed quickly.

If you think a loved one is suffering from Seroquel abuse or any other kind of SUD, contact us today. Reaching out can be one of the first and most crucial steps to take to help a suffering loved one.