What Are the Long-Term Effects of Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is an extremely potent synthetic opioid notorious for its ability to produce serious harm. Those harms prominently feature heightened risks for an overdose. They also include heightened risks of developing a diagnosable drug problem. Fentanyl addiction treatment helps you reduce your exposure to these well-known health issues. It can also help you avoid the many other potential consequences of long-term fentanyl use.

Side Effects of Fentanyl

Fentanyl is both a prescription medication and an illegal street drug. Even when used as intended under a doctor’s supervision, it can trigger significant side effects. Common examples of these effects include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Drowsiness
  • A confused mental state
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Impaired body balance

The potential side effects of fentanyl also include slurred speech and a declining appetite.

The Effects of Fentanyl Abuse

Fentanyl is often a target of drug abuse or misuse. You can misuse a prescription form of the drug by taking it more often than intended. Other acts of prescription misuse include using someone else’s fentanyl and using the drug for recreational purposes. Any use of illegally produced or purchased fentanyl also qualifies as misuse.


Misuse of fentanyl is a common factor in cases of overdose. An overdose occurs when the presence of the drug seriously impairs your central nervous system. Compared to other common opioids, fentanyl is incredibly potent. This fact helps explain the increasing number of fatal overdoses related to its use. Overdose is both a short- and long-term risk for anyone who misuses fentanyl.


The potential effects of fentanyl abuse also include opioid addiction. How does addiction develop? Frequent exposure to fentanyl can cause your brain to expect its presence in your bloodstream. If your brain undergoes this change, you become physically dependent on the drug. 

Continuing misuse of fentanyl at this point can make you emotionally reliant on fentanyl. In other words, your physical need for it will now be accompanied by a psychological need. As a result of these overlapping needs, you may start compulsively seeking out more fentanyl to take. This compulsive urge marks a full transition into diagnosable addiction.

Other Long-Term Effects of Fentanyl

Long-term fentanyl use or misuse may lead to a number of other problems. Examples of these problems include:

  • Impaired breathing
  • An unstable mood
  • Chronic constipation
  • Changes in your libido
  • Menstrual problems in women

Long-term use of the drug can also damage your brain. As a result, you may have problems making decisions or controlling your behavior. In addition, fentanyl use can eventually damage your liver. 

Effects of Using Other Substances with Fentanyl

Many people who misuse fentanyl also misuse other substances. This behavior is known as polydrug abuse. It can seriously elevate your risks for short- and long-term problems. 

Two forms of polydrug use are especially risky. One involves the use of fentanyl with alcohol. The other involves the use of the drug with a prescription sedative. Fentanyl, alcohol, and sedatives all slow down your central nervous system. When you misuse any of them at the same time, you are much more likely to overdose. 

Find Out More About the Long-Term Effects of Fentanyl at Tree House Recovery

Have further questions about the potential long-term effects of fentanyl abuse? Talk to the addiction professionals at Tree House Recovery. We have the answers you need to understand the risks that come with this powerful opioid.

Tree House also specializes in the treatment of fentanyl addiction. We feature holistic, outpatient care. Our goal is to help you recover in as effective and convenient a manner as possible. Call us today at 910.812.1728 to get your fentanyl treatment started. You can also contact us through our online form.

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