Infographic about Sufentanil

Facts About Sufentanil

  • Sufentanil is also known by its brand name, Sufenta.
  • It’s a synthetic opioid currently only available in hospital settings.
  • It is designed to work powerfully but only lasts a few hours.
  • It is delivered directly through the vein.
  • The drug was intended to use for anesthesia during surgery.
  • It is 5 to 10 times as potent as morphine.
  • It is 500 times more powerful than morphine.
  • It is closely related to fentanyl, a drug that is blamed for upticks in overdoses in the past few years.

Sufentanil was formulated for the pharmaceutical industry for people who were undergoing painful surgeries or who experienced severe trauma, such as fires or wrecks. It was not meant for recreational use and is not currently available as a “take home” drug, although that will probably change in the future.

Symptoms/Signs of Sufentanil Use or Abuse

Like many opioids, there are certain behaviors that a person using Sufentanil may exhibit. There is no way to distinguish if a person is explicitly using Sufentanil at this time. Many people who become addicted to opioids will substitute one drug for another when they can’t get their drug of choice. In fact, it would not be surprising if a Sufentanil user turned to fentanyl or heroin when they can’t get the drug they want.

Here are a few things to look out for if a person is abusing Sufentanil or other opioids:

  • The drug user may “nod off” or seem “out of it” in general regularly.
  • They may get dizzy or throw up.
  • They will have trouble with coordination and balance.
  • They may slur their speech regularly.
  • They may stop doing things that they once enjoyed.
  • They may hide their arms or wear bulky clothing.
  • They may leave drug supplies around the house. (Needles, powders, pills in bags, etc.)
  • They may appear malnourished or ill.
  • They may have skin sores or infections.
  • They may have trouble with finances, legal issues, or relationships.
  • They act anxious or

Dangers of Sufentanil Use

Addiction is one of the top dangers of Sufentanil abuse. Many people addicted to opioids initially fell into dependence while they were taking a drug legally. People are attracted to opioids because of the “high” it gives – for Sufentanil, the drug lasts for several hours, and there is a sense of well-being and euphoria. When they’re no longer high, that feeling is absent, and they can quickly begin to abuse the drug to continue to chase that feeling.

Sufentanil isn’t meant to be taken regularly or long-term, and there are no studies that tell us about the effects of long-term usage. Opioids can make a person develop a tolerance once they have used them for a while. This means they need more of the drug to get the effects they’re looking for. For a potent opioid, dependence can cause an overdose. For Sufentanil users, it would be difficult to determine a “safe amount,” if there is any. The drug causes respiratory depression – if you use it, you could stop breathing when you overdose.

When a drug user takes drugs like Sufentanil on a long-term basis, they will run the risk of overdose as well as damage to their body. All opiate users run the risk of overdose, but the chance is stronger with a drug as dangerous as this one. Overdoses can cause cardiac or respiratory arrest, leading to a coma or death. The drug itself causes slowed respiration, and when a person abuses it, there aren’t any medical professionals available to monitor their lungs or heart.

Use of Sufentanil can prevent oxygen from reaching the user’s brain. In the long term, opioids typically cause psychological and neurological effects, including pain disorders and seizures. Many people who overdose suffer permanent brain damage.

Addiction will also change the way a person acts and cause detrimental effects to their health. There is no safe way to abuse Sufentanil.

Signs and Symptoms of Sufentanil Dependency/Addiction

A person who is addicted to Sufentanil will spend a lot of time getting and using drugs. They will probably substitute other opioids when they are unable to obtain Sufentanil.

You may discover that a drug user keeps baggies, pills or powder in secret stashes in their living space. They will probably crush tablets, snort, or inject them.

When a person is addicted to an opioid, they will develop a tolerance to all opioids, meaning they will need more of a drug to get the high they are seeking. They may get multiple prescriptions from multiple doctors or even buy drugs on the street. A person addicted to opioids that can’t get their drug of choice may end up buying heroin in desperation.

A person who has used opioids long-term will also have physical symptoms of addiction, such as appearing malnourished, pale, and weak.  Opioids users often have trouble “keeping up appearances” and will often be unkempt and have skin sores.

An addicted person will act differently than he or she may have behaved in the past in general. They will often withdraw from their interests and relationships, focusing more on the drug and its use. Addiction can wreak havoc on finances, job prospects, self-esteem and life in general. It’s not a way of life – it’s a disease. The good news is that treatment is available.

Sufentanil and Withdrawal Symptoms

Addiction to opioids like Sufentanil can cause severe withdrawal symptoms. These would include fever, chills, stomach cramps, diarrhea and other flu-like symptoms. Some people have worse withdrawal, such as seizures. If a person withdrawing has any other health problems, there can be other complications.

Because these symptoms of withdrawal can be intense, addiction professional recommends going to detox.  Sufentanil users may benefit from medication-assisted treatment and the ability to withdraw from opiates in a safe, supervised environment. While detox is never fun, having support in a clean and therapeutic setting can help addicted people feel as comfortable as possible.  Once a person has detoxed, a plan for recovery and additional treatment is usually the next step. It’s sometimes hard work, but many people find peace as they learn to reclaim their lives in recovery.

Getting Help

If you or somebody you love has a problem with Sufentanil or any other drug, you’re not alone. Many people seek recovery from addiction every year, and we know recovery is possible for you, too. The recent development of MAT (Medication Assisted Treatment), including drugs like Sublocade (extended-release buprenorphine or BUP-XR) has greatly improved the comfort of getting sober and the long-term positive outcomes of treatment.

Are you interested in learning more about your options? We’re here to help. Give us a call to learn more about how you can plan your recovery.