Sufentanil is one of the most powerful narcotic painkillers made. Scientists at Janssen Pharmaceutica first synthesized Sufentanil as an analogue similar to fentanyl. Fentanyl is about 80 times stronger than pure morphine, and sufentanil is five to ten times stronger than Fentanyl. It comes as a white crystalline powder.
The chemical name for Sufentanil is N-[4-(methoxymethyl)-1-(2-thiophen-2-ylethyl)-4-piperidyl]-N-phenylpropanamide.
Legally, the United States government classifies sufentanil as a Schedule II Controlled Substance, which means it has the highest potential for addiction, but can be used medically under a doctor’s supervision. The penalties for possessing and dealing in sufentanil are the most severe among all the drug laws
What are the Medical Uses of Sufentanil?
Sufentanil is an anesthesia that produces immediate sleep. In one study of 60 patients undergoing surgical procedures, sufentanil and its cousin-drug fentanyl were found to be more effective anesthesia than either morphine or meperidine because they caused fewer complications and were less likely to cause respiratory depression. Sufentanil has the advantages of producing no active metabolites and distributing rapidly throughout the body. It also has a high therapeutic index, which means you have to take a large amount in order to achieve a fatal overdose.
Millions of women experience sufentanil when they give birth because sufentanil is the main ingredient in “epidurals,” the analgesic injections into the spinal cord. Pain relief begins within ten minutes and lasts approximately 1.7 hours.
Studies have shown that sufentanil can provide complete pain relief in 80% to 90% of patients during childbirth. Sufentanil does not affect a baby’s APGAR scores, the test for health and alertness given to newborns immediately after birth.
Only a trained anesthesiologist can administer sufentanil intravenously during surgical operations. The beginning dose is usually stronger than the maintenance dose, but it requires expertise to keep the patient comfortable. The amounts used during an operation depends on the person’s body weight, physical status, type of illness the person has, other drugs the person may be taking, and the type of surgery being attempted. Elderly and debilitated patients need special monitoring.
Emergency medical personnel administer sufentanil as a pill that dissolves in the mouth to trauma victims in battlefield and disaster settings.
Sufentanil also comes as an intravenous drip system that patients can administer themselves. They can allow themselves to regulate their pain relief by directing the flow of their IV systems