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Fentanyl patches and hot showers are a fatal combination!

ac
Posts: 84
Joined: Aug 2008

I was on a Fentanyl patch for a while. But weaned myself off it because I needed my hot showers so badly to clear my thick mucus.

You might already know this. But just thought I'd share this with everyone in case people are unaware. Hot showers can trigger the patches to release too much drugs too quickly. The overdose might result in respiratory problems which could be fatal.

Here's a related article with tragic consequences.

http://hamptonroads.com/2011/10/navy-hot-shower-led-marines-fatal-overdose

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

The article, for those who might be wondering, is a legitimate one from my home region's newpaper The Virginian Pilot.

I learned a few things here, the first and most obvious not to take hot showers while on fentanyl; second, that fentanyl is so much more powerful than morphine...no wonder I was so happy all the time; and third, that I should be very thankful that I spent my hospital time across the river from the one where this young man tragically died (although I spent some time there as a youthful Navy brat on occasion, to be sure).

Again, thanks for the head's up.

Take care,

Joe

Hondo's picture
Hondo
Posts: 5717
Joined: Apr 2009

Wow things we don’t know that can kill us, thanks for sharing the tip. I hope you are doing well and have a happy thanksgiving my friend

Hondo

ac
Posts: 84
Joined: Aug 2008

Last 2 weeks have been hell for me. But the mucus has subsided a little so I'm getting better sleep at least.

I'm surprised that medical staff don't go through this as thoroughly as they should.

Happy belated Thanksgiving to all.

Hondo's picture
Hondo
Posts: 5717
Joined: Apr 2009

I agree we get more and better information here on CSN then we do with most of the medical staff who works with us every day. But in their defense they are working with so many people everyday 24 & 7 they don’t have time to explain all the side affects you will have during and after treatment like they should.

Take care my friend and hope things start to get better for you from here on in.
Hondo

NJR
Posts: 82
Joined: Oct 2011

I was warned extensively about the do's and do not's with the patches. They even taught my daughter how to wrap my arm with a frozen bandage and wrapping that with "Cling Wrap" if I needed to take a shower between patch changes. (I changed patches every 48 hours) What I really don't understand is why they would put him on a patch before starting him on morphine and why they assumed it wouldn't take effect for 30 hours. The literature plainly stated that it is much less than that.

Be aware if you are offered it, there are many more things that will affect the absorption rate besides heat. Be especially careful to make sure your area is dry if you use alcohol to clean the area before applying the patch.

What concerned me more than anything though was disposal. After removing a spent patch the gel types still contain more than enough of the drug to kill someone not well conditioned to the heaviest of opiates, so be absolutely sure to flush it down the stool so no curious children or teenagers can get to it. As for the new patches, keep them under lock and key.

I probably wouldn't be alive right now if not for Fentanyl but that is some seriously scary stuff. My head Chemo nurse told me that Fentanyl is delivered in the manner that it is because the difference between a therapeutic dose, and a fatal dose is so minute that the cost of a scale sensitive enough to measure the difference would make it prohibitive. Also, there is only one antidote for accidental ingestion and unless you're already in a hospital you are not likely to get there in time.

Note: I am not a pharmacologist or a doctor. Just someone successful scared into giving this stuff some serious respect.

sweetblood22's picture
sweetblood22
Posts: 3230
Joined: Jan 2010

Found that out the hard way. I about passed out in the shower. From then on my showers were "supervised". My step mom would sit by the vanity when I was in there. I know I mentioned that before but I should link this post to the superthread. Thanks.

DrMary's picture
DrMary
Posts: 527
Joined: Nov 2010

and electric blankets - I saw a medical journal article that cited a case of a woman who was being treated at a hospital and they didn't notice her patch. They put her in a "warming blanket" after surgery and she showed signs of OD. They fortunately caught it in time.

denistd's picture
denistd
Posts: 490
Joined: Apr 2009

Isn't Fentanyl a power version of heroine?

sweetblood22's picture
sweetblood22
Posts: 3230
Joined: Jan 2010

I thought it was a synthetic morphine.

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

Article said it was about 100 times more powerful than morphine. I don't know how they figure those things out. To be honest, had I known that, I would not have been so casual when they sent me home with it, not that I tried to abuse it.

Take care,

Joe

NJR
Posts: 82
Joined: Oct 2011

As Sweet said Fentanyl is a synthetic that crosses the blood-brain barrier in the same manner as both morphine and heroin, then attaching itself to opiate receptors changing the way we perceive pain. Whether the structure is more closely related to morphine or heroin I cannot say, however it is most often referenced to being a powerful version of heroin probably due to the fact that it was sold on the streets in the 60's and early 70's as, "China White". It was responsible for almost 7,000 deaths in a very short amount of time simply due to the fact that would be junkies simply couldn't comprehend just how powerful an opiate it is. The government being the government made no effort to differentiate between the two as it served their purpose to let everyone believe that they were one and the same.

Heroin, like Morphine as among the most potent opiates known, are like a home remedy in comparison. Fentanyl is far and away the most potent pain killer that can actually be administered in a therapeutic dose as far as I know.

luv4lacrosse's picture
luv4lacrosse
Posts: 1385
Joined: Jul 2010

I found out the hard way twice as when I was on 150 Mics. of Fentanyl and decided I was no longer in pain, I peeled the patch off and tossed it in the trash. 12-16 hours later, I was in full opiate withdrawl. I was on this dose for 4 months and was told to ween off 25 Mics. at a time reducing the dose every 2-3 weeks.

Mike

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