Fentanyl is a potent synthetic narcotic analgesic with a rapid onset and short duration of action. It is a strong agonist at the μ-opioid
Mu Opioid receptor
The μ-opioid receptors are a class of opioid receptors with high affinity for enkephalins and beta-endorphin but low affinity for dynorphins. They are also referred to as μ opioid peptide receptors. The prototypical μ receptor agonist is the opium alkaloid morphine; μ refers to morphine...

 receptors. Historically it has been used to treat breakthrough pain and is commonly used in pre-procedures as a pain reliever as well as an anesthetic in combination with a benzodiazepine
A benzodiazepine is a psychoactive drug whose core chemical structure is the fusion of a benzene ring and a diazepine ring...


Fentanyl is approximately 100 times more potent than morphine
Morphine is a potent opiate analgesic medication and is considered to be the prototypical opioid. It was first isolated in 1804 by Friedrich Sertürner, first distributed by same in 1817, and first commercially sold by Merck in 1827, which at the time was a single small chemists' shop. It was more...

, with 100 micrograms of fentanyl approximately equivalent to 10 mg of morphine and 75 mg of pethidine
Pethidine or meperidine Pethidine (INN) or meperidine (USAN) Pethidine (INN) or meperidine (USAN) (commonly referred to as Demerol but also referred to as: isonipecaine; lidol; pethanol; piridosal; Algil; Alodan; Centralgin; Dispadol; Dolantin; Mialgin (in Indonesia); Petidin Dolargan (in Poland);...

 (meperidine) in analgesic activity.