HAV: abuse of fentanyl patches

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Keep and dispose of fentanyl plasters after use

Apparently, fentanyl plasters are increasingly being used by addicts for a dangerous high, as the Hessische Apothekerverband (HAV) warns in a recent message. Drug addicts would search the patches in medical waste from clinics or old people's homes. The experts warn of misuse of the fentanyl patches already used. Cases with incorrectly prescribed patches also increased.

Addicts try to get fentanyl patches
The prescription fentanyl patches are prescribed primarily to pain patients. The plasters are a kind of carrier for high-dose pain medication. According to the HAV, addiction patients would increasingly try to get the plasters prescribed by a doctor. "Those affected do what is known as doctor hopping in order to get recipes with plasters containing fentanyl". According to the pharmacists' association, “the misuse of painkillers is increasing dramatically. As a result of overdoses, the number of deaths has also increased. Drug addicts cook the patches they have collected to secrete the active ingredient. These are then injected using a syringe. Other addicts would "chew on the patch until the drug is absorbed through the oral mucosa."

Call for special storage
The association therefore calls on all hospitals and care facilities to separately dispose of the fentanyl plasters that have already been used. "The patches should be better collected, cut up and stored in a safe place until they are finally disposed of." Patients who have been prescribed the fentanyl patches for home use should return them to the pharmacy for disposal after use or directly to the pharmaceutical company send back. However, this would only happen on a voluntary basis. However, it is also important that the plasters "in any case do not get into the hands of children, because in the worst case this could lead to cardiac arrest and severe breathing problems".

The active ingredient fentanyl has a strong sedative and analgesic effect. The way the drug works is about 120 times more potent than morphine, although the duration of action is significantly shorter. Addicts use the drug intravenously, as a maximum effect can be achieved here and the effective time starts after 2 to 4 minutes. The drug is listed in the Narcotics Act (BTM) in Germany as well as heroin. (sb)

Image: Gerd Altmann / shapes: photoshopgraphics.com / pixelio.de

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Video: 2018 Demystifying Medicine: The opioid epidemic: how, where, and what can be done?


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