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First Case of Fentanyl-Induced Brain Disease Reported: Health Experts Issue Warning

Visual Representation for Fentanyl Drug

United States: The health experts of the United States have confirmed that the first case has been reported linked to brain disease from inhaling fentanyl. The doctors have outlined the first-ever case has been detected in a man, and they also outlined how dangerous opioids can be. 

According to the experts, the fentanyl drug is 50 times more potent than heroin. The man, aged 47-year-old, has been seeking treatment in the emergency department of Oregon Health and Science University. He was admitted in February of last year. 

He was taken to the hospital after he was found unconscious in his hotel room. Health experts have outlined that he was “near death” when he was discovered. 

The Matter!

A team of medical experts diagnosed that the inhalation of fentanyl had instigated significant inflammation within crucial sectors of the patient’s cerebral white matter, resulting in a loss of consciousness and posing a grave threat of irreversible cognitive impairment and potential fatality.

While instances akin to this have been previously documented in individuals following the inhalation of heroin, the case of the Oregon patient marks the initial recorded occurrence involving fentanyl.

“This particular instance involves a middle-class individual in his latter forties, with familial responsibilities, who experimented with fentanyl for the first time. It underscores the reality that fentanyl’s impact can transcend societal boundaries,” remarked lead investigator Chris Eden.

It is plausible that similar instances may have arisen in the past, yet they went unnoticed due to the limited understanding of the syndrome’s underlying mechanisms.

“We are well acquainted with the conventional side effects of opiates – respiratory depression, loss of consciousness, disorientation. However, the notion of it potentially inducing irreversible cerebral damage and impacting brain function, as observed in this case, is not within the conventional realm,” Dr Eden stated.

The patient survived through long and tedious hospitalization of close to a month. Thereafter, the rehabilitation at a nursing home facility, where cognitive and communicative abilities were being rehabilitated, showed incremental progress.

The study results demonstrated the drastic danger that fentanyl poses, considering the availability and relatively low cost of this drug.

“I live with these memories that are constantly invading my consciousness, reminding myself of the consequences of my decision, on myself as well as my kids and spouse.” I also want to mention that all of the medical staff, namely doctors, nurses, and EMTs that made my life possible, are also my heroes because, without them, I would hardly be extant in this world, while the therapists who were a helping hand throughout the road are the link that shattered the link between me and society,” stressed the patient during the BMJ Case Report interview.

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