Many medical diagnoses are combated with prescription drugs, but each drug can affect each patient differently. What works for one patient may not be effective for another. Doctors therefore often have several potential options when it comes to selecting a prescription drug to help their patients. One example of this is with the drugs fentanyl and morphine. Some people may assume that just because they are both classified as opioids/narcotics, that then they must have the same potency and effects on a user. This is far from the truth.
Morphine vs. Fentanyl
Morphine is most commonly used to help relieve severe pain and is classified as an opioid drug. It is used in clinical settings and is available as a pill, patch or intravenous (IV) fluid. Morphine is actually one of the most well-known and widely used drugs in clinical practices and is often used as the benchmark for comparing the strengths of other opioids. Morphine can be highly addictive since its main interaction with the brain is on the dopamine receptors, which can cause a user to experience a euphoric high.
Fentanyl is very similar to morphine as it also is classified as a narcotic, works by increasing dopamine neurotransmitter activity and is highly addictive. Fentanyl, however, is more commonly used with those who suffer from different types of cancers and is actually implemented for those who have built up a tolerance to other opioids, such as morphine. Between the two opioids, fentanyl is a lot more potent than morphine. This is mostly due to the fact that morphine is derived from a natural opioid source (poppy plants) while fentanyl is synthetically made. Fentanyl is usually only reserved for the most severe types of pain because of its high potency.
Dangers of Fentanyl Compared to Morphine
Since fentanyl is more potent than morphine and most other forms of natural opioids, it has the potential to also be a lot more dangerous. Both fentanyl and morphine are prescribed by doctors, but since they are also both highly addictive, they are often obtained illegally as well. If you or a loved one are taking any of these opioids and are noticing beginning signs of addiction, seeking out professional help may be needed before symptoms get worse. Along with addiction to either of these drugs comes the risk of overdose. Since fentanyl is a lot more potent than morphine, lower levels of it are needed to cause an overdose. Fentanyl also comes in easier forms of ingestion including being worn as a transdermal patch or taken as a throat lozenge. Seeking professional help for any addiction is vital but seeking help for an opioid addiction might save a life.