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Duragesic is a brand name product consisting of the opioid pain reliever called fentanyl. Fentanyl is considered to be 30 to 50 times more powerful than morphine at alleviating severe and chronic pain1. Duragesic uses this medication in a transdermal patch form to give the user continuous pain relief for up to three days.

What Are the Street Names for Duragesic?

Duragesic and its generic component of fentanyl go by many street names, but are most commonly referred to as Apache or China Girl. Other terms that refer to Duragesic include Great Bear, Goodfellas, King Ivory, Jackpot, He-Man, Dance Fever Murder 8, Friend, and Tango & Cash. Other street names may be used in specific regions.

What Is the Federal Classification for Duragesic?

The brand name transdermal patch Duragesic is a Schedule II Controlled Substance. This means that there are medically approved uses for this drug that are strictly regulated, but that this drug has a high risk for abuse that can lead to severe physical and psychological dependence for users.

What Does the Duragesic Transdermal Patch Look Like?

DuragesicDuragesic is manufactured in the form of a transdermal patch that may be clear or skin colored. It is typically rectangular in shape for the clear, but may be in the shape of a square for the flesh colored patches. The clear transdermal patches have an imprint with the drug name, dosage, and the words “Fentanyl Transdermal System” in parenthesis. For those who have seen transdermal nicotine patches used in smoking cessation, Duragesic patches bear a strong resemblance.

How Is Duragesic Transdermal Patch Used?

For those who are prescribed this medication to alleviate symptoms of severe and chronic pain, the transdermal patch is to be applied to clean, dry skin that is free of lotions and oils. The patch should be applied to skin where there is no hair on the chest, back, upper arms, or sides of the waist. Those who take Duragesic for recreational purposes will use the patch as directed, or may swallow the patch whole or cut up into smaller pieces. Ingesting the patch is more dangerous, as it allows a much greater amount of the drug to enter the blood stream at one time rather than having it gradually enter the blood stream.

The Risks of Using Duragesic Transdermal Patch

All users face risks when using the Duragesic transdermal patch. Like all products containing fentanyl, there is a high risk of developing dependence on this drug. This drug also contains boxed warnings on the prescription medication that include the risk of respiratory depression and death, accidental exposure by third parties who accidentally come into contact with improperly disposed of transdermal patches, medication contraindications, and exposure to heat which increases the absorption of the fentanyl, increasing the risk of overdose and death.

How Does this Drug Affect the Mind?

Duragesic affects the mind the same way that other narcotic pain relievers do. This drug attaches itself to opiate receptors in the brain, causing a euphoric effects that slowly turns into a feeling of relaxation. The reward centers of the brain are also activated, making the chance for abuse and eventual dependence a very strong risk. After taking this drug for some time, the body stops producing its own natural neurotransmitters. This leads to the user needing more of the drug just to get the same effects. In fact, users will need to continue taking this drug just to feel normal and to avoid dealing with withdrawal symptoms. Continued use can lead to dependence and even addiction.

How Does this Drug Affect the Body?

After Duragesic begins to take effect, the body becomes relaxed and pain is alleviated. Nausea and flushing of the skin may occur, but these feelings come and go and are generally brief. This drug has a depressant effect on the central nervous system. The heart is affected, leading to slower heart rate, skipped beats or palpitations. Respiration is slowed down as well, and breathing may become shallow and labored. Blood pressure can drop from using this drug. Users may also develop a dry mouth, and even a fever along with symptoms similar to the flu.

What Are the Overdose Symptoms and Effects for Duragesic?

If overdose of this drug is suspected, it is important to contact a poison control center or emergency services personnel immediately. Overdose on Duragesic can be fatal.

Overdose symptoms may include:

  • Extreme sedation or drowsiness
  • Trouble breathing
  • Difficulty thinking or speaking
  • Uncontrolled coordination
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Death

What Are the Short Term Effects?

The short term effects of Duragesic transdermal patch include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Pain relief
  • Euphoria
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Dry mouth
  • Excessive sweating
  • Gastrointestinal disturbances
  • Central nervous system depression

What Are the Long-Term Effects?

Long term effects of using the Duragesic transdermal patch include the increased risk of dependence, increased tolerance, withdrawal symptoms, and overdose.

Other long-term effects may include:

  • Liver damage
  • Kidney damage
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Facial swelling
  • Death

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