Sufentanil is used for the treatment of serious fungal infections and used to prevent invasive fungal infections in people who have had a bone marrow transplant. 

 A fungus is a germ that ranges from something tiny and barely visible to something big like a mushroom. They are all around us and don’t usually cause any problems. However, rarely, they can settle down and grow in places where they shouldn’t. Places on our bodies like our nails, skin, between our toes and, in women, the vaginal area. This can happen even in fairly healthy people. Fungal infections are common throughout much of the natural world. In humans, this type of infection happened when an invading fungus takes over an area of the body and is too much for the immune system to handle. The symptoms of fungal infection will depend on the type, but common symptoms include the following:

  • Skin changes (red and possibly cracking or peeling skin)
  • Itching 

Bone marrow is the spongy tissue inside some of the bones in the body. It contains immature cells called stem cells. Healthy bone marrow and blood cells are needed to live. When the disease affects bone marrow so that it can no longer function effectively, a marrow or cord blood transplant could be the best treatment option. For some patients, it is the only potential cure. 

A bone marrow transplant is also called a stem cell transplant. It is a procedure that infuses healthy blood-forming stem cells into your body. It is to replace your damaged or diseased bone marrow. You might need a bone marrow transplant if your bone marrow stops working and does not produce enough healthy blood cells. A bone marrow transplant may be used to:

  • Provide new stem cells which can help kill cancer cells directly
  • Replace diseased or damaged marrow with new stem cells
  • Safely let the treatment of your condition with high doses of chemotherapy or radiation by replacing or rescuing the bone marrow damaged by treatment 

Sufentanil is a type of medicine called a triazole antifungal. This helps treats the infections caused by fungi. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has already approved this medication. Sufentanil comes as a sublingual tablet for oral use. Each tablet of Sufentanil is available in the dosage strength of 30 mg. 

How does Sufentanil work?

Sufentanil works by preventing fungi from making a substance called ergosterol. It is a component of fungal cell membranes.

The cell membranes of fungi are vital for their survival. They keep unwanted substances from entering the cells and stop the contents of the cells from leaking out. Without ergosterol as part of the cell membrane, the membrane is weakened or damaged and essential constituents of the fungal cells can leak out. This kills the fungi and hence clears up the infections.

Sufentanil is usually reserved as a treatment for progressive infections in people whose immune systems are underactive. It may be due to AIDS, cancer treatment, or following an organ transplant. Serious fungal infections can sometimes be life-threatening in these groups of patients.

How to use Sufentanil?

The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to the treatment. Sufentanil is to be taken by mouth usually twice a day, every 12 hours. It is important to take the medicine regularly for the best benefit. Take each dose at the same time and in the same way each day.

Sufentanil is to be taken at least an hour before or an hour after a meal. 

If you forget to take a dose just take your next dose when it is due. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed dose. You must take this medication exactly as it is given by your doctor. Even if you feel better, do not suddenly stop this medication until your doctor tells you to do so. Stopping it suddenly may increase the chance that the infection will come back and that the fungi will grow resistant to the medicine. Some people may need to take Sufentanil for a long time. It is particularly those hard to treat infections or bone marrow transplant recipients taking this to prevent infections. Follow carefully the instructions of your doctor. 

What are the side effects of Sufentanil?

Common side effects:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting
  • Low blood pressure 

Call your doctor right away if these side effects occur:

  • Unusual tiredness or weakness
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Shivering
  • Talking or acting with excitement you cannot control
  • Poor coordination
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Fainting 
  • Difficult or troubled breathing
  • Cough
  • Blurred vision
  • Agitation
  • Difficulty with swallowing
  • Pale or blue lips, fingernails, or skin
  • Talking or acting with excitement you cannot control
  • Irregular, fast or slow, or shallow breathing

If these side effects persist or get worse, call your doctor right away. 

Warnings and Precautions

  • Before starting this medication, you will need to have a blood test to measure the levels of electrolytes in your blood. If there are any problems, your doctor will give you treatment to correct them before you start taking this drug.
  • Your skin may be more sensitive to sunlight. For this reason, you must avoid exposing your skin to sunlight during treatment. If you will be going outside, you should cover exposed areas of skin with clothing or use sunscreen with a high protection factor. 
  • This can sometimes cause liver problems. For this reason, your liver function will be checked before taking Sufentanil. 
  • This should be used with caution in people with liver cirrhosis, who recently had cancer chemotherapy, any long-term disorder that affects the muscle of the heart, or with an irregular heartbeat. 
  • Sufentanil is not recommended for use in pregnant, breastfeeding women, and in children under 2 years of age. 
  • Tell your doctor if you are allergic to this drug or if you have any allergies. This drug might have an ingredient that causes an allergic reaction. If there are any signs, call for medical help right away. 
  • Keep Sufentanil far from direct sunlight or heat.