Cancer Home > Actiq Abuse
As a narcotic pain medication, Actiq (fentanyl lozenge) has the potential for abuse. Actiq can also cause life-threatening complications if too much is consumed. Using high doses of this pain medicine can result in breathing problems, extreme drowsiness, coma, and even death. However, drug abuse should not be confused with physical dependence, which may occur even with legitimate use of the drug.
An Overview of Actiq AbuseActiq® (fentanyl lozenge) is a narcotic opioid pain medication used to treat breakthrough pain (flares of pain that "break through" regularly scheduled maintenance pain medication) in people with cancer. It comes as a lozenge on a handle. Just like all narcotic medications, the potential for abuse is high with Actiq.
Addiction Versus DependenceLike all narcotics, Actiq 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 Actiq, 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.
The Dangers of Actiq AbuseThere are many dangers associated with abusing narcotic medications, including Actiq. Using too much of this drug can be physically dangerous. Large doses can cause breathing problems, extreme drowsiness, coma, and even death, especially in people who are not used to the medication.
The emotional and social consequences of abusing Actiq can also be devastating. Relationships and careers can be destroyed, and years of hard work can be ruined in a short amount of time.