Pain Home > Duragesic Abuse

As a narcotic, Duragesic (fentanyl patch) can lead to physical dependence when used for a long period of time, and some people may develop an addiction. However, there is a significant difference between true addiction and a physical dependence on the drug. The consequences of abusing Duragesic can be dangerous, possibly resulting in breathing problems, coma, and even death.

An Overview of Abusing Duragesic

Duragesic® (fentanyl patch) is a long-acting narcotic pain medication that comes in the form of a patch. As a narcotic, it has the potential to be abused. The high concentration of fentanyl in Duragesic makes this medication particularly desirable for abuse.

Addiction Versus Dependence

Like all narcotics, Duragesic can lead to physical dependence. Physical dependence occurs when the body becomes used to a drug, and needs it to function normally. If you suddenly stop using this medication, it will cause withdrawal symptoms. This is an expected physical response to taking a medication for long periods of time.
In addition, the body may become tolerant to the effects of a drug. In the case of Duragesic, this means that higher doses may be needed over time to achieve the same pain-relieving effects. In many cases, people who have been on narcotics for long periods of time can take doses so large they would cause an overdose in people who do not take narcotics.
It is important to keep in mind that physical dependence is not the same as addiction. Addiction is a serious and complex disease associated with drug abuse, craving, uncontrolled use, and continued drug use despite harm.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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