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Faculty Paper Explores Causal Connection Between Epidurals and Fentanyl Addiction

By August 3, 2018 No Comments

Fentanyl is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine. With fentanyl the most commonly prescribed opioid included in epidurals, Dr. Karin Cadwell and Dr. Kajsa Brimdyr explored whether the exposure of a fetus to fentanyl via analgesia during labor predisposes them to fentanyl as a recreational drug of choice in later life.

They published the evaluation of their hypotheses in Medical Hypotheses, where they reveal supporting research that demonstrates that later taste preferences are modulated by fetal exposure to labor medications and infant taste experiences of amniotic fluid, by a process somewhat akin to “imprinting” where a specific memory becomes “engraved” during the hours before birth leads to behavioral effects in adult life.

With a convincing correlation between the exposure of the fetus to other labor medications like morphine and barbiturates and later addition of young adults to the same category of drug, the faculty members conclude that the same effect is true of the opioid fentanyl. Read the article here.