2021 Mar 16. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan–.
Fentanyl is a potent synthetic opioid, which, similar to morphine, produces analgesia but to a greater extent. This robust pharmacologic agent is typically 50 to 100 times more potent. A dose of only 100 micrograms can produce equivalent analgesia to approximately 10 mg of morphine. However, fentanyl exhibits vastly different properties and pharmacokinetics. Clinically, its most common use is as a sedative in intubated patients and severe cases of pain in patients with renal failure due to its primarily hepatic elimination. At times, fentanyl may also be indicated to treat chronic pain patients who have developed tolerance to opiates. When used as a sedative, drug administration is most commonly via a drip. Lastly, fentanyl uses can extend to the treatment of epilepsy. That is, in combination with certain neuroleptic medications as part of therapeutic neuroleptanalgesia. This activity outlines the indications, mechanism of action, administration methods, significant adverse effects, contraindications, monitoring, and toxicity of fentanyl so that providers can direct patient therapy to optimal outcomes.