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OcfentanilOcfentanil, which is also known as A-3217, is a highly potent synthetic opioid related to the drug fentanyl. Like all other fentanyl analogues its extreme high potency makes it quite dangerous as a recreational drug.

Fentanyl and its analogues belong to the same class of drugs as morphine and heroin and have similar effects. Heroin addicts sometimes consume fentanyl analogues unknowingly. They have been found to be unscrupulously used as an adulterant of heroin in the USA. Drug gangs will add analogues like ocfentanil or drugs like this in order to mask the poor quality of the heroin and provide the end user with a more powerful high. Fentanyl analogues are also sold online as “designer drugs” by online research chemical vendors.

Ocfentanil was first synthesised in the early 1990s. Researchers were looking for a drug that had similar pain killing properties to fentanyl, but possessing better safety in terms of respiratory depression and cardio toxicity.

A study using rats found that it was 2.5 times as potent as fentanyl. They used a hot plate test were the rat is exposed to a 55 oC hot plate. The effective dose that allows suppresses the pain and stops aversion from the insulting heat is then determined.

In humans ocfentanyl produces effective pain relief at doses as low as 1 μg/kg. This would be a dose of 80 μg for an average man. Doses of up to 3 μg/kg produced respiratory depression and analgesia. Both of these effects continue to increase with increasing dose.

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One study has concluded that Ocfentanil may be as effective as morphine for use in post –operative pain relief.  A dose of 3 μg/kg was found to be equivalent to 5 μg/kg of fentanyl when used as a supplement to general anaesthesia in surgery.

  • Overall we can conclude that Ocfentanil is highly potent and probably twice as potent as fentanyl in humans.
  • This would make it approximately 150 -450 times more potent than heroin.
  • And approximately 2500 times more potent than morphine.

This extreme potency of ocfentanil poses serious issues for its safe use as a recreational drug. One should also be aware that high potency does not mean it produces a more pleasurable high. Potency is simply a measure of the effective dose required for pain relief and also for a lethal dose.

A lethal dose of pure ocfentanil might be barely visible to the eye. To use this compound it must undergo serial dilution where the powder is dissolved, diluted and then this liquid is diluted again.

There is a large possibility for error in this, hence the danger of fentanyl and its analogues. They frequently cause death by overdose.

The side effects of ocfentanil are similar to fentanyl itself and include itching, nausea, vomiting, sedation and of course dangerous respiratory depression.

They are also highly addictive. Physical dependence develops rapidly with repeated use. The withdrawal from ocfentanil is very physically tough and will last for over 36 hours, with the onset of withdrawal occurring only 6 hours after the last dose.