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Side Effects of Sufentanil (Sufenta)


Side Effects of Sufentanil (Sufenta)

Sufentanil, avaialable as the brand Sufenta, is a narcotic (opioid) analgesic and works in the brain and nervous system to cause anesthesia and decrease pain. Sufenta is used to produce anesthesia for surgery or with other medicines as part of an epidural anesthesia during labor and delivery to decrease pain.

Sufenta and Drug Abuse

According to the FDA, Sufenta Citrate Injecton is a Schedule II controlled drug product that can produce drug dependence of the morphine type and therefore has the potential for being abused.

Before Sufenta Treatment

The FDA gives several precautions before taking Sufenta. Sufenta may cause drowsiness or dizziness. Using Sufental with other medicines or alcohol may worsen these effects. Avoid driving, operating machinery, and doing anything else that could be dangerous until you are sure about these effects on you your ability to drive or to perform other potentially dangerous tasks. In addition, avoid drinking alcohol while taking Sufenta.


The elderly are more prone to Sufenta’s side effects. If you are pregnant or planning to get pregnant, discuss with your doctor the benefits and risks of using Sufenta during pregnancy. Sufenta is excreted in breast milk. If breast-feeding, consult with your healthcare provider before starting Sufenta.


Sufenta should not be used if you are allergic to Sufenta, other strong painkillers. Sufenta should also not be used if you suffer from any illness causing breathing difficulties and breathing, are taking or have taken monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs, a type of antidepressant medicines) during the last two weeks.


Before you start Sufenta, inform your healthcare provider if you have diabetes, asthma or other breathing problems, fever, increased pressure or unusual growths in the brain, heart problems, liver or kidney disease, pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas),a recent head injury, or if you have a history of slow or irregular heartbeat or blood pressure problems.


Seek medical attention immediately if you experience severe allergic reactions: rash, hives, difficulty breathing, tightness in the chest, swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue, hallucinations,muscle rigidity, seizures, slow or irregular heartbeat, slowed or trouble breathing, and weakness.

Common Side Effects

Most common side effects associated with Sufenta usage are:


  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Slow heartbeat
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Low blood pressure
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

(Sufenta label reported by the FDA).

Drug Interactions

Certain medicines may interact with Sufenta. Infrom your health care provider of other medicines you are taking, such as: beta blockers (propranolol), calcium channel blockers like verapamil because the effects of bradycardia (slow hearbeat) and hypotension (low blood pressure) with Sufenta may be greater and more severe.


The risk of serious central nervous system (CNS) and cardiovascular reactions may be increased by CNS depressants, (barbiturate anesthetics specifically thiopental), benzodiazepines (alprazolam), tranquilizers, and other opioids.

About Pharmacogenetic Testing

Sufenta metabolism is dependent on the CYP3A4, a drug metabolism enzyme present in liver and its analgesic effect is mediated via mu-opioid receptor gene, OPRM1. Individuals with varying expressions of these genes can potentially have variations in their response to Sufenta. Pharmacogenetic testing determines the activity of CYP3A4 and OPRM1 and can possibly help your healthcare provider to better predict how you will respond to Sufenta.

Know Your Risk with the Rxight® Genetic Test

With Rxight®, you will be given your genetic information on how you metabolize over 200 prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications, including Sufenta and other opioids. This information will give your prescriber the ability to understand how your body responds to drugs. Rxight® helps you and your healthcare providers to know what medications are safe and which to avoid. This results in experiencing severe side effects and having an effective treatment plan.


Call us to learn more about Rxight® pharmacogenetic testing, at 1-888-888-1932 or email us at support@Rxight.com.


Contributors to this Article:
Michael Sapko, MD, PhD; and Deborah Kallick, PhD, Medicinal Chemistry

Read more about Rxight® DNA Testing for Medications