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How Long Does Fentanyl Stay In Your System?

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid drug that was originally synthesized in the early 1960s by Paul Janssen, founder of Janssen Pharmaceutica.  The drug initially gained mainstream popularity as a general anesthetic in the 1960s under the brand “Sublimaze”, a compound consisting of fentanyl and citric acid.  It wasn’t until the 1990s that fentanyl was approved by the United States FDA for clinical usage in the form of a transdermal patch, branded as “Duragesic.”

Following its approval in the United States, fentanyl transdermal patches became increasingly popular for the treatment of moderate to severe pain.  It is now also available in the form of lozenges, and is still sometimes used intravenously.  To elicit analgesic effects, fentanyl binds to mu-opioid receptors (MOR) as an agonist to stimulate the release of beta-endorphin and enkephalins.

The mu-opioid receptor agonism is also associated with neurophysiologic relaxation and mood improvement.  However, less desirable adverse effects may also occur among fentanyl users including: brain fog, confusion, constipation, dizziness, impaired motor skills, nausea, and/or sedation.  These adverse effects may lead users to discontinue treatment and contemplate how long it’ll take to get fentanyl out of their systems.

How long does Fentanyl stay in your system after stopping?

If you’ve completely stopped taking this drug, you’re likely going to experience fentanyl withdrawal symptoms – some of which may be severe.  These symptoms generally emerge as a result of your neurophysiology readapting itself to function without the mu-receptor agonism (as was provided by fentanyl).  As you’re experiencing these symptoms, you may wonder how long the fentanyl stays in your system before you’re completely detoxified and “drug free.”

To determine how long fentanyl is likely to remain in your system after your final dose, it is necessary to consider its elimination half-life.  The elimination half-life of fentanyl is subject to some variation based on the modality by which it is administered.  Administration of fentanyl intravenously will result in quicker clearance from your plasma compared to transdermal or transmucosal formats.

Intravenous fentanyl exhibits an elimination half-life of approximately 2 to 4 hours in adults, meaning it takes approximately 11 to 22 hours to eliminate from the plasma.  On the other hand, transdermal fentanyl (patches), as well as transmucosal fentanyl (lozenges), exhibit half-lives of approximately 7 hours.  This suggests that both should be cleared from plasma circulation in around 1.6 days after discontinuation.

Some sources suggest that there is a greater discrepancy between transdermal and transmucosal fentanyl in regards to elimination half-life.  One source estimates that transdermal fentanyl has a longer elimination half-life at around 17 hours (within the range of 13 to 22 hours) and transmucosal fentanyl has a shorter one at around 6.6 hours (within the range of 5 to 15 hours).  If this is accurate, it would take around 3.89 days to eliminate the transdermally administered fentanyl and approximately 1.51 days to eliminate the transmucosal fentanyl.

In summary, it is apparent that the intravenously administered fentanyl will be eliminated from your system rapidly after cessation.  The transmucosal and transdermal formats of fentanyl will take longer to eliminate, but both will be out of your system within 5 days of complete cessation.  Furthermore, it is likely that the transmucosal fentanyl is subject to slightly quicker elimination than the transdermal format.

  • Source: https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/fentanyl
  • Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2729633
  • Source: http://realnurseed.com/fentan.htm

Variables that influence how long Fentanyl stays in your system

Though many people may eliminate fentanyl from their systems at similar speeds, the exact time it takes to eliminate the drug is generally subject to variation.  This variation in elimination speed is usually a result of variables such as: individual factors, dosage, frequency and term of administration, fentanyl format, and co-administered drugs.  When contemplating how long fentanyl is likely to remain in your system after cessation – consider these variables.

  1. Individual factors

Two people could theoretically administer a single fentanyl patch that delivers 25 mcg/hr over a period of 72 hours, yet one person is likely retain the drug in their system for a longer duration than the other.  The difference in the elimination half-life of a fentanyl patch between these individuals could be small or large – depending on individual factors.  Individual factors that will affect its elimination speed include: the user’s age, body mass/fat, and hepatic function.

Age: Data suggests that fentanyl remains in systemic circulation for a longer duration among elderly patients compared to younger adults.  One study noted that the elimination half-life of intravenous fentanyl in elderly patients was 15.75 hours compared to just 4.42 hours in younger adults.  This means that it could take elderly individuals nearly 3.61 days to eliminate intravenously administered fentanyl; considerably longer than the average of 1.6 days among younger counterparts.

Another study documented that elimination half-life of fentanyl patches among elderly (aged 64 to 82) was 11.1 hours, compared to just 4.2 hours among younger individuals (aged 25 to 38).  Fentanyl clearly lingers in the body of elderly individuals for a longer duration after cessation (by over 2-fold) compared to young adults.  Age-related factors such as: decreased perfusion of tissues, diminishing hepatic/renal function, lower plasma proteins, and reduced physiologic efficiency – may contribute to its increased half-life and slower clearance among elderly.

  • Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7149300
  • Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9813514

Body Fat (%): It is understood that a person’s body mass and fat percentage can affect the pharmacokinetics of fentanyl.  Research suggests that more massive individuals and/or those with a high percentage of body fat will likely retain fentanyl for a longer duration after discontinuation than those with low body fat.  One study showed that a closely-related drug to fentanyl, known as “sufentanil,” had a longer elimination half-life by 1 hour 13 minutes in obese users compared to non-obese users when administered intravenously.

Longer retention of fentanyl among obese individuals is due to the fact that the drug is highly lipophilic, meaning it is soluble in fat stores (e.g. adipose tissue).  Since obese individuals have a greater amount of adipose tissue, fentanyl distribution is more extensive, and accumulation may be greater.  Those with a lower percentage of body fat will eliminate the fentanyl quicker because they have less mass for distribution and adipose tissue for accumulation.

  • Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11020136/
  • Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1835321/

Genetics: Fentanyl is metabolized hepatically primarily by CYP3A4 isoenzymes, facilitating the conversion of fentanyl to norfentanyl metabolites via dealkylation.  A small percentage of the population may be unable to efficiently metabolize fentanyl as a result of poor CYP3A4 function stemming from alleles of the CYP3A4 gene.  Various alleles of CYP3A4 could contribute to poorer-than-average metabolism of fentanyl.

Those who are considered CYP3A4 poor metabolizers may exhibit heightened levels of fentanyl in the plasma as a result of reduced CYP3A4 isoenzyme function.  On the other hand, those with other alleles of the CYP3A4 gene may be considered extensive or rapid metabolizers.  Rapid metabolizers may eliminate the fentanyl at a quicker rate than average from systemic circulation.

  • Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8886601
  • Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9311623

Hydration: After discontinuation, a majority of fentanyl is eliminated in the form of metabolites within urine.  It is understood that staying well-hydrated can increase urinary flow rate, which in turn can increase efficiency of drug excretion.  Therefore, an individual who stays optimally hydrated while using fentanyl and after discontinuing treatment may excrete the drug faster than someone who is dehydrated.

Hepatic function: Individuals with hepatic impairment or conditions like cirrhosis are hypothesized to eliminate fentanyl at a slower rate than those with normative hepatic function.  Hepatic impairment is known to interfere with the function of CYP450 (cytochrome P450) enzymes such as CYP3A4.  Reduced function of CYP3A4 as a result of hepatic impairment will lead to poorer metabolism of fentanyl, increased plasma concentrations, and a longer elimination half-life.

Usually the greater severity of hepatic impairment, the longer the elimination half-life of fentanyl.  Someone with mild impairment will likely metabolize and excrete the drug considerably quicker than an individual with severe impairment.  For this reason, dosage limits may be suggested for those with compromised hepatic function.

  • Source: https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/archives/fdaDrugInfo.cfm?archiveid=11988

Metabolic rate: A person’s basal metabolic rate (BMR) is known to affect how long certain drugs remain in systemic circulation.  Individuals with high BMRs are known to burn more energy at rest than those with low BMRs.  It seems as though burning more energy at rest as a result of a high BMR may expedite the metabolism and excretion of exogenous drugs like fentanyl.

On the other hand, burning less energy at rest is associated with slowed drug metabolism and prolonged drug elimination.  Further, it is necessary to consider the impact of BMR on body fat percentage.  Individuals with high BMRs are thought to have lower body fat, which in turn is associated with reduced accumulation and faster elimination of the highly-lipophilic fentanyl.

  1. Route of Administration

There are several different formats of fentanyl, each of which correspond to different routes of administration.  The primary routes of fentanyl administration include: intravenous (IV), transmucosal (lozenge), and transdermal (patch).  Most users understand that intravenous administration is associated with the fastest elimination of fentanyl, whereas transmucosal and transdermal administration are associated with slower plasma elimination.

Intravenous (IV): Pharmacokinetic reports indicate that intravenously administered fentanyl exhibits a half-life of 2 to 4 hours in adults, meaning it is eliminated in less than 24 hours after discontinuation.  If you were using intravenously administered fentanyl, it could be eliminated from your plasma in 11 to 22 hours after your dose.  Intravenous administration is associated with substantially faster excretion of fentanyl compared to other modalities.

Transmucosal (Lozenge): Most sources note that transmucosal fentanyl exhibits an elimination half-life of around 7 hours.  Other sources suggest that elimination half-life of transmucosal fentanyl is closer to 6.6 hours and may fall within the range of 5 to 15 hours.  This indicates that transmucosal users tend to eliminate fentanyl from their systems within 1.5 days of discontinuation, but some transmucosal users on the slower end of the spectrum may take up to ~3.44 days.

Transdermal (Patch): While most sources suggest that transdermal fentanyl exhibits a similar half-life to the transmucosal format at 7 hours, other sources suggest a longer half-life of 13 to 22 hours with an average of 17 hours.  This indicates that transdermal users could retain the drug within their systems for 2.98 to 5.04 days after cessation, eliminating fentanyl in an average of ~3.9 days.

  • Source: https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/fentanyl
  • Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2729633
  • Source: http://realnurseed.com/fentan.htm
  1. Dosage

The greater the dosage of fentanyl you consistently administer, the longer you should expect it to stay in your system.  Fentanyl patches are manufactured in varying doses, ranging from 12 mcg/hr to 100 mcg/hr, while the transmucosal fentanyl citrate is manufactured in doses ranging from 200 mcg to 1600 mcg.  High doses place a greater burden on hepatic CYP3A4 enzymes, resulting in slower metabolism and ultimately longer retention prior to elimination.

Furthermore, higher doses result in more substantial levels of an exogenous substance circulating throughout the body.  Since fentanyl is highly lipophilic, greater doses will result in increased accumulation within fat stores.  It is also important to consider that high doses take longer to excrete via the urine because they are broken down into a greater number of metabolites (than lower doses).

If you are a low dose user, you should metabolize fentanyl with greater efficiency and accumulate less of it within adipose tissue – leading to faster plasma elimination.  Since less metabolites will be formed from ingesting lower doses, excretion speed will be faster than high dose users.

  1. Term/Frequency of Usage

The duration over which you’ve used fentanyl, along with how often you used it may influence how long it’ll stay in your system.  Regular, long-term users are more likely accumulate greater peak concentrations of fentanyl within bodily tissues than infrequent, short-term users.  For example, a person who applies a fentanyl patch and removes it after 10 hours is unlikely to have reached steady state concentrations of the drug, resulting in faster systemic elimination.

Someone who applies consecutive 72 hour fentanyl patches will have attained steady state concentrations, and will have accumulated more of the drug within bodily tissues.  Consistent long-term administration is associated with development of tolerance, and thus dosage increases are required to maintain therapeutic efficacy.  Increases in dosage lead to increases in plasma concentrations of the drug, resulting in a prolonged half-life.

Infrequent, short-term users are more likely to administer lower doses of fentanyl because they haven’t developed a tolerance to the drug’s effects.  As a result, these low doses are efficiently metabolized and excreted without accumulating to a significant extent within bodily tissue.

  1. Co-administered drugs

If you’re taking other drugs along with fentanyl, there’s a possibility that they may be affecting its metabolism, and ultimately its elimination half-life.  Fentanyl is principally metabolized by CYP3A4 isoenzymes within the liver.  Therefore any co-administered drug that affects CYP3A4 function via inhibition or induction can affect how long it is likely to stay in your system.

Any co-administered drug that interferes with enzymatic function of CYP3A4 prolongs its elimination and is considered a “CYP3A4 inhibitor.”  Examples of some common CYP3A4 inhibitors include: Clarithromycin, Indinavir, Ketoconazole, Nelfinavir, and Ritonavir.  Should you have taken any of these substances along with fentanyl, you can expect its metabolism to be altered and elimination to be prolonged.

On the other hand, drugs that are known to enhance enzymatic function of CYP3A4 may expedite the elimination of fentanyl and are classified as “CYP3A4 inducers.”  Examples of common CYP3A4 inducers include: Carbamazepine, Modafinil, Oxcarbazepine, Phenobarbital, Phenytoin, Rifampicin, and St. John’s wort.  If you took a CYP3A4 inducer along with fentanyl, it may have been metabolized and excreted at a faster rate than usual.

  • Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20297612

Note: Inhibitors/inducers of CYP3A4 vary in effect based on the particular drug and dosage ingested.

Fentanyl: Absorption, Metabolism, Excretion (Details)

Upon transdermal or transmucosal administration of fentanyl, it is efficiently absorbed.  Its efficiency of absorption increases if administered intravenously with users experiencing analgesic effects nearly instantaneously post-injection.  Effects peak within several minutes of an intravenous fentanyl injection and duration of effect typically lasts between 30 and 60 minutes.

Intramuscularly administered fentanyl is associated with a slight delay in onset of action compared to intravenous administration.  Analgesic effects from intramuscular administration occur within 7 and 15 minutes post-ingestion with duration of fentanyl’s effect spanning between 1 and 2 hours.  Transmucosal fentanyl is rapidly absorbed via mucous membranes within the cheeks.

Absorption via buccal mucosa results in 25% of the fentanyl becoming available.  The remaining 75% of the dose is swallowed in saliva and is absorbed slowly via the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.  Of the 75% of the dose that is swallowed, approximately 25% remains available after hepatic metabolism.  As a result, transmucosal fentanyl has a bioavailability of approximately 50%.

When administered transdermally via a patch, fentanyl has a bioavailability of 92%.  Regardless of its modality of administration, up to 85% of fentanyl binds to plasma proteins (mostly alpha-1-acid glycoprotein).  The drug is then distributed to the brain, heart, lungs, kidney, and spleen.  As a result of its high lipophilicity, it can accumulate within fat stores throughout the body such as adipose tissue.

After ingestion, fentanyl is subject to hepatic metabolism via CYP3A4 isoenzymes.  CYP3A4 facilitates the conversion of fentanyl (via N-dealkylation) to form the metabolite norfentanyl.  It is also metabolized by intestinal mucosa and subject to hydroxylation to form inactive metabolites: 4-N-anilinopiperidine and propionic acid prior to excretion.

An estimated 90% of fentanyl is excreted within urine as metabolites, whereas less than 7-10% is excreted as unchanged fentanyl.  A small percentage of the drug is eliminated via the feces, and of this, less than 1% consists of unchanged fentanyl.  Research suggests that 70-75% of fentanyl is excreted via the urine within 4 days of discontinuation.

  • Source: https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/fentanyl

Types of Fentanyl Drug Tests

Though significantly more potent than many other opioids, fentanyl is not commonly assessed for on standard drug screenings.  Standardized drug screenings such as the SAMHSA-5 aim to detect the presence of opioids that metabolize into morphine.  Since fentanyl doesn’t metabolize to form morphine, it is unlikely to be detected unless an advanced fentanyl-specific screening is administered.

Urine tests: It is relatively easy to detect fentanyl with a urine sample using gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS).  One study investigated the levels of fentanyl and its metabolite norfentanyl among users of fentanyl patches.  They documented levels of the parent compound and metabolite among patch users based on the specific dosage.

It was found that the 25 mcg/hr patch yielded 47 ng/ml fentanyl and 175 ng/ml norfentanyl, whereas the 50 mcg/hr patch generated 74 ng/ml fentanyl and 247 ng/ml norfentanyl within the urine.  The 75 mcg/hr patch yielded 107 ng/ml fentanyl with 328 ng/ml norfentanyl, whereas the 100 mcg patch generated 100 ng/ml fentanyl and 373 ng/ml norfentanyl within urine.

A study from 1993 indicates that unchanged fentanyl is detectable in urine quickly after administration, but duration of detectability is subject to individual variation.  Some users may excrete fentanyl quickly, making it undetectable in less than 24 hours, whereas in others, it may remain detectable for up to 72 hours post-ingestion.  That said, norfentanyl metabolites accumulate to a greater extent and can be detected in some users for over 96 hours (4 days) after ingestion via a GC/MS urinalysis.

  • Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15516290
  • Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8452277

Hair tests: Collecting hair follicles and analyzing them for the presence of fentanyl is another way to detect its ingestion.  Research suggests that concentrations of fentanyl in hair is likely to range from 0.1 ng/mg to 0.5 ng/mg following administration of therapeutic doses.  It is thought that the drug may remain detectable in small concentrations within the hair for months after administration.

Since hair tests offer a long window of detection, are minimally invasive, and highly convenient – they may be a preferred way to detect fentanyl.  The amount of fentanyl is typically greater in proximal (root) segments of hair compared to distal (tip) segments.  However, hair tests may be less reliable than urine tests in that the amount detected may not be reflective of the administered dose.

  • Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8225140
  • Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18397579
  • Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9007638

Saliva tests: Though some drugs are readily detectable in saliva samples, fentanyl is not one of them.  It is extremely difficult to detect fentanyl in saliva, especially if administered intravenously or transdermally.  If administered via an oral lozenge, it is possible that remnants of the drug may be retained within oral mucosa after administration, increasing likelihood of oral fluid detection.

In the 1990s, it was difficult to detect fentanyl with consistency in saliva samples.  However, newer saliva tests are able to extract adsorbed fentanyl from a cotton dental bud (CDB) on a “Salivette” testing device.  This is accomplished by utilizing the chemical acetonitrile and reverse phase chromatographic separation with high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC).

Small amounts of both fentanyl and norfentanyl appear on saliva tests.  In the future, it is thought that these testing devices will improve in their ability to detect fentanyl and its metabolites.  Although saliva tests are minimally invasive and highly feasible, they are not as accurate as urine tests and fail to provide a long window of detection and hence are seldom utilized.

  • Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8452277
  • Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24780703

Blood test: If an individual is incapable of being tested for fentanyl with a urine test, collection of a blood sample may be warranted.  Blood testing is capable of detecting fentanyl within minutes of administration and possibly for days thereafter (depending on the fentanyl format).  Intravenously administered fentanyl can be detected within minutes of administration, but provides the shortest window of detection (under 24 hours).

Transdermal or transmucosal fentanyl may remain detectable for 1 to 4 days in the plasma depending on the dosage and whether the individual had attained steady state concentrations.  Due to the fact that blood tests are considered invasive and provide a short window of detection, they are seldom preferred over other testing modalities.  That said, blood tests may be used in postmortem analyses and/or for scientific research.

  • Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3354866
  • Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22890811

Tips to clear Fentanyl from your system

If you’ve stopped taking fentanyl, you may want to clear the drug as quickly as possible from your system.  That said, fentanyl has a relatively short half-life compared to many drugs and will be excreted quick enough “as is.”  However, if you want to detoxify your body at a quicker rate, you could talk to your doctor about some of the hypothesized fentanyl elimination tips below.

  1. Stop using fentanyl: The only way to really guarantee that fentanyl is eliminated from your system is to stop taking it. Continuing to use fentanyl means that the drug will continue to accumulate in your body and will never get fully excreted. It’ll likely take several days to eliminate most of the drug from your system, and several more days to fully excrete it.
  2. Reduce body fat: One technique that may help you eliminate fentanyl is to exercise and eat healthy for fat reduction. If you have a high body fat percentage, there’s a chance that excess fentanyl was stored in your system. By burning some fat, you’ll eliminate accumulated toxins like fentanyl faster than usual.
  3. Calcium-D-Glucarate: This is a substance known as a cellular detoxifier that aids in excretion of toxins from your liver and kidneys. It is possible that Calcium-D-Glucarate may aid in the elimination of toxins stemming from fentanyl and its metabolites. This is often regarded as a beneficial supplement for general detoxification.
  4. Activated charcoal: Another agent that you may want to consider taking after you’ve fully discontinued fentanyl is activated charcoal. While this should not be taken until the fentanyl is out of your plasma, it may aid in detoxification of your body from the drug, its metabolites, and various endotoxins in your gut thereafter. If you plan on taking activated charcoal, be sure to talk to your doctor to find out when you can safely take it after you’ve discontinued fentanyl.

How long has Fentanyl stayed in your system after stopping?

If you’ve stopped taking fentanyl, share a comment regarding how long you believe it stayed in your system.  Do you think that you eliminated the drug quicker/slower than average?  To help others understand your situation, share variables that are known to affect the drug’s elimination half-life including: fentanyl format (IV/lozenge/patch), dosage, and duration of administration.

Also share individual factors that may have influenced how long it stayed in your system after your final dose including: age, hepatic function, usage of other drugs, etc.  Realize that most people will eliminate fentanyl efficiently within 5 days of their final dose.  However, it is important to understand that although fentanyl may be fully cleared from your system in less than a week, readjusting to life without fentanyl may be difficult.

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23 thoughts on “How Long Does Fentanyl Stay In Your System?”

  1. I was on fentanyl patch 50 mug for 5 years and then went to 25mcg. For the last 9 months (3 urine tests) it has not shown up in my urine tests. What is the reason for that? Dr took me off all pain meds because of that.

  2. Soooo I’m 30 days off Fentanyl and my levels are somehow still fluctuating. They are extremely low, but I am continuing to test positive despite not using for 30 days. What’s even weirder is that my levels are going up and down but by .09 .53 nothing significant… or else it would shoot up to 3.0. I have no idea what to do at this point because my son is on the line… !

  3. Was put on 50 mcg of fentanyl for 12-14 years every 48 hours changed patch. I was told to get off before having back surgery… my doctor said just take it off… NO I went to a pain doctor, he weaned me off by lowering the dose.

    Within 3 months I was completely off fentanyl!!! No withdrawals/God miraculously helped me through it… sad to say, when I had spine surgery, I was labeled as narcotic dependent & was NOT given strong enough meds to relieve pain (Percocet) every 6 hours and a 5mg valium every 9 hours after surgery… excruciating pain like I had never experienced.

    I chose to not take the meds 2 days after getting out of hospital for they did not help pain, God alone, has helped me through it. NEVER again will I allow a doctor to put me on opioids again… get the help you need to come off them, trust God and take one day at a time.

    I trusted my doctors but they only know what they read.. they need to LISTEN to their patients, everyone is different… pray this may encourage someone & help you to get proper help and most of all, Trust God!

  4. I know some one who sniffed fentanyl for the first time. Their questions are: “How long does it stay in your system?” and “How long before it clears from your urine?” Please get back to me.

  5. I am on 100 mcg/hr of fentanyl patches every 48 hours. Lately, I have torn small pieces of another patch to chew as I’m in so much pain I can’t handle it and am bedridden with pain. I want to go to the hospital tomorrow to see if they can do anything about the pain I’m having in my right top hip bone and lower back.

    Will they be able to tell that I’m taking more and chewing it? Also, how do I wean myself from the chewing? I have been on fentanyl for a few years and have always followed exactly as prescribed. I feel like a loser and I’m so angry at myself, but now the only relief I get is when I take a small piece and chew it.

    This is on top of my patch. I also take Tylenol 4s for breakthrough pain which do nothing! I was prescribed this by a pain specialist who is a neurologist. Never did he say it was addictive or had side affects. He never mentioned the problems of coming off it either.

    I’m so upset, but the pain I’m in is unbearable that I always break down and chew a little otherwise I can’t move and am in so much pain, I’m in tears and can’t move or get out of bed. Also, why can’t you cut the patch to start cutting back?

    Also, this has destroyed my marriage as my husband cannot handle my illness. I have fibromyalgia extremely bad, Connective Tissue Disorder, Hep C, depression, anxiety, Celiac Disease, chronic fatigue.

    • This is to the Cheryl who is chewing the patch – do not get down on yourself. I was on it for 8 years and never took more than prescribed. But that does not mean I did not think about it. I finally had enough and went off but had to transfer to another medication. I had a choice of Methadone or Morphine I took the latter.

      I have known many people who died from Methadone, not judging, just not a risk I wanted to take. Got off the Morphine now on Norco… it can be done but it’s hard. Do not give up and do not feel bad at yourself. I know exactly how you feel and it is not a question of character or intent. Hang in there. You can do it. If you do not, so what? Try again. You are NOT a bad person.

  6. I was on the fentanyl patch, 150 mcg. For about 8 years. I suffer from chronic joint pain and other pain that has not been diagnosed. I wanted off of the patch because I was having a lot of memory loss and had other symptoms that I thought may be caused from prolonged use of the patch. I started folding the corner of my patch, then would make the fold bigger and bigger until I could go to lower mcg patch.

    I continued this until I was wearing 12 mcg. I folded this patch til about 6 mcg. I had now been forced to change doctors because of insurance. My new doctor would not give me the patch so I could continue to wean. He said I was at a good place to stop cold turkey. I was not happy. Weaning was not the funnest thing but it was tolerable.

    I cannot begin to explain the awful pain I went through. I didn’t have the withdraws that I had read so much about. I did my homework. I had excruciating pain in my entire back and neck. I truly cannot explain the pain. I was home with no medication to speak of. I called the doctors answering service and was told they don’t write out scripts.

    I was left completely alone in this dangerous state. Not once did it ever enter my mind to call 911. I was unable to think clearly. Every second of every minute of every hour of every day was excruciating. This lasted for 5 days. The pain let up slowly each day. It has been a month and a half and I still have a good deal of pain in my kidney area.

    So, a BIG reminder to all, dial 911!!! It scares me to think what could have happened. A month prior to this, I was taken by ambulance because of extremely high blood pressure. I have had high bp since 20, I am now 50. The pain has made this issue much worse. Please know that I do not know how safe it is to fold the fentanyl patch. I knew I was not supposed to cut them.

    My doctor was aware of what I was doing but I have never seen it as an option in all of my homework on the subject. Do not quit cold turkey. Read up on how to wean, then call every doctor until you find one that will CARE about You. I do want to add that I was physically addicted to the patch. Before my chronic pain, I never even took aspirin.

    Fentanyl doesn’t care why you are on it. Getting it out of your system not fun. The only common withdrawal symptom I had was I could not stay still. That was extremely frustrating. I’m a girl that has chronic pain and now I have no pain meds. If there is any way I can help anyone, let me know. I’ll do my best. My prayers are with you all!

  7. Used Fentanyl patches by chewing them. It’s one day before I get a blood test by State Patrol. Will I test positive if it’s just the one time and just the corner of a patch?

  8. I have been on suboxone for 2 years. A couple months ago I screwed up and started taking fentanyl every few days to get high. 2 times now I have tested positive for fentanyl. First time I was clean for 9 days before the test. Second time was 14 days before the test. I don’t know if they changed how they test for it, but it seems like they can tell for a long time now. Beware!!

  9. Was on Fentanyl patch for almost 7 yrs 75 mcg and was not told I needed to be in detox to come off it. I stopped cold turkey when my repeated requests to be weaned off properly were denied. It’s been 13 weeks today. No more withdrawals and have no cravings, but have severe depression, absolutely no energy and can’t get out of bed, when I do get up every movement is forced, and stopping suddenly like I did threw me into full blown early menopause!

    I’m miserable! I have 3 special needs boys and lots of animals to take care of for the boys hobby business and I NEED to get better and get up! Fentanyl has ruined every aspect of my life and I have a lot of fixing to do. But I can’t even get up without hours of fighting with myself and when I am up I’m whiny and complaining and even more miserable! How long till all this goes away?

  10. Sorry you’re going through that… I couldn’t take the withdraw so I went on methadone. It saved my life. Cold turkey – keep it up. But there is nothing wrong with going on methadone.

  11. I’m on suboxone maintenance for 2 years now. I used pure 98 percent fentanyl powder as IV about 250 mcgs. How long will this take to test clean on urine test? Any info appreciated, this stuff IS not your average pharmaceutical IV fentanyl either.

  12. I have been off fentanyl patch for over three weeks and am still having everyday withdrawal symptoms, such as night sweats, chills, aches and headaches, lost of appetite, tiredness and depression at times. I have rid the jerky leg syndrome, but still have occasional creepy crawly feelings in my lower back and legs.

    I was on 25mcg/h for four years and went cold turkey off of it which I don’t recommend. I use to work out regularly but now have no desire or energy to do so. Any help on this will sure be appreciated. Thank You.

    • Don’t know if anyone will respond, but I’m at the end of week 2. Terrible leg pain and almost feels like my eye muscles won’t allow my eyes to close… so no sleep. Calves hurt so bad… 24 hours a day. Never relaxed. Major back surgery in November and not sure if calf pain is from surgery (nerve damage) or withdrawal. Not sure I’ll ever feel better.

      • Keep pushing forward even if you have a relapse. Keep the memory of all the pain this drug has caused in your life by withdrawals etc. But to be honest it is a long road ahead. Many give up like me and get on a maintenance program of some sort: methadone, suboxone, etc. But to each their own. Drugs make us feel better even if taking for a legit reason. The key is to find that happiness in something else if possible. Luck to us all!!

      • What is with that brutal cramping in the calves? I couldn’t even bend my ankles and could not get up to go and take some magnesium, which I thought would help.

    • To all the victims out there. I was on both the patch (100 mcg) & sublingual spray (800 mcg) and I had other narcotics, muscle relaxers and benzodiazepines. I quit cold turkey cause I had OD too many yes times. I was hard but it was worth it. Education and classes should be given before using a medication such as this.

      THIS MEDICINE IS 100 TIMES STONER THAN MORPHINE, HERON, AND COCAINE. I have been blessed. I used to look like the walking dead! ONE MORE THING, THIS DRUG IS FOR CANCER BREAKTHROUGH PAIN ACCORDING TO THE FDA. I take clonidine for blood pressure, but is also used to stop the cravings. I hope this helps someone. God bless!

      • This is the most addictive drug out there. I was prescribed it by my Pain Management MD. There should be a class (especially for high school and college kids) on this drug alone. The drug is the DEVIL in disguise. Trust me. How ANY Doctor (s) could prescribe this to anyone and think it’s acceptable….that Doctor needs his “head evaluated”.

        I’m fighting my own battle right now with it. I’d rather be in pain from Lupus (which I have), than be on fentanyl. As a NJ State licensed Social Worker, it has/is becoming an issue for me. My patients are noticing that I look high. I say it’s allergies, but I can’t use that excuse forever.

        Anyone have a real answer on how to get this out of my body-quickly, especially since we are all being drug tested in 6 days. My company does it every year. I will lose my job, that I worked so hard at for the 7 years. Help…

        I know I could say I was prescribed the fentanyl, but when I ran out… I got it from someone who I knew takes it. I bought it from him. Bad news… DM

      • This message is for Tvr. Thank you for sharing your story. I broke my back & was inches away from being up in a wheelchair for the rest of my life. The post-op pain was agony-I’ve been sick most of my life-so I think I have a pretty good grip on what I can persevere through & what I can’t. My neurologist had me on 150mcg patch changing every 48 hrs & Oxycodone 30mg 4-6 tabs a day as I need it.

        It was 4 yrs last December when I informed my neurologist I wanted to come off the Fentanyl-slowly titrating down. He offered me Hydrocodone & Subs-had no interest, would just be another med to come off of. So as of December to May I went from 150mcg to 50mcg patches. Thank goodness I did, I month later my “doctor” of 12 yrs was arrested from the DEA & FBI, they had been watching him for awhile.

        I still take the oxycodone 30mg prn, but I am now getting shots in my back-it took 2 yrs for my pain mgmt to get the exact formula right-but he did!!! It’s 4 & 1/2 months now, I am still withdrawing from Fentanyl. One thing I did-& I’m a nurse was to put the patch on the same area every time-had to, it wouldn’t stay and you KNOW the RX is not going to be able to give even 1 more!!

        I’ve had no quality of life for 5 yrs. I want to go to a short term rehab just to detox myself completely. Any suggestions?? I wouldn’t wish this on a single soul-this has been hell. My doctor who has since lost his license, just left us all flat. If anyone has any advice or suggestions can offer-PLEASE-I’m listening fully.

        Thanks for taking the time to read-I pray for all of us that live with chronic pain EVERY day!!! NO ONE-sorry no offense-but if you haven’t had chronic pain or a very long term illness you can’t begin to understand-And I hope you never do!!! TC all!!! Kim


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