Fentanyl is a powerful, synthetic opioid that is part of the class of drugs called opioid analgesics. Developed in the early 1960s, fentanyl was first used as an intravenous anesthetic but is now prescribed and administered to treat chronic severe pain, for instance, with cancer or end-of-life care.
Fentanyl is prescribed under trade names such as Duragesic, Actiq, and Subsys. Names for illegally used fentanyl include Goodfellas, Dance Fever, and Apache.
The drug comes in several forms: a transdermal patch, a lozenge, a tablet that goes under the tongue, a nasal spray, and a sublingual spray. Side effects include euphoria, drowsiness, nausea, confusion, constipation, sedation, tolerance, addiction, respiratory depression and arrest, and unconsciousness