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Home / Drugs / Starting with S / Sufentanil

An opioid analgesic that is used as an adjunct in anesthesia, in balanced anesthesia, and as a primary anesthetic agent. [PubChem]
Adjuvants, Anesthesia
Anesthetics, Intravenous
Opiate Agonists
Analgesics, Opioid
ManufacturersAkorn inc
Baxter healthcare corp anesthesia and critical care
Hospira inc
Watson laboratories inc
PackagersAkorn Inc.
Baxter International Inc.
Generamedix Inc.
Hospira Inc.
Mallinckrodt Inc.
Taylor Pharmaceuticals
SynonymsSufentanil Citrate
Sufentanilum [INN-Latin]


Used as an analgesic adjunct in anesthesia and as a primary anesthetic drug in procedures requiring assisted ventilation and in the relief of pain.


Sufentanil is a synthetic opioid analgesic. Sufentanil interacts predominately with the opioid mu-receptor. These mu-binding sites are discretely distributed in the human brain, spinal cord, and other tissues. In clinical settings, sufentanil exerts its principal pharmacologic effects on the central nervous system. Its primary actions of therapeutic value are analgesia and sedation. Sufentanil may increase the patient's tolerance for pain and decrease the perception of suffering, although the presence of the pain itself may still be recognized. In addition to analgesia, alterations in mood, euphoria and dysphoria, and drowsiness commonly occur. Sufentanil depresses the respiratory centers, depresses the cough reflex, and constricts the pupils.

mechanism of action

Opiate receptors are coupled with G-protein receptors and function as both positive and negative regulators of synaptic transmission via G-proteins that activate effector proteins. Binding of the opiate stimulates the exchange of GTP for GDP on the G-protein complex. As the effector system is adenylate cyclase and cAMP located at the inner surface of the plasma membrane, opioids decrease intracellular cAMP by inhibiting adenylate cyclase. Subsequently, the release of nociceptive neurotransmitters such as substance P, GABA, dopamine, acetylcholine and noradrenaline is inhibited. Opioids also inhibit the release of vasopressin, somatostatin, insulin and glucagon. Sufentanil's analgesic activity is, most likely, due to its conversion to morphine. Opioids open calcium-dependent inwardly rectifying potassium channels (OP1 receptor agonist). This results in hyperpolarization and reduced neuronal excitability.


LD50: 18.7 mg/kg (IV in mice)

half life

265 minutes

drug interactions

Cimetidine: Increases the effect of the narcotic

Telithromycin: Telithromycin may reduce clearance of Sufentanil. Consider alternate therapy or monitor for changes in the therapeutic/adverse effects of Sufentanil if Telithromycin is initiated, discontinued or dose changed.

Tranylcypromine: Possible increased risk of serotonin syndrome.

Triprolidine: The CNS depressants, Triprolidine and Sufentanil, may increase adverse/toxic effects due to additivity. Monitor for increased CNS depressant effects during concomitant therapy.

Voriconazole: Voriconazole, a strong CYP3A4 inhibitor, may increase the serum concentration of sufentanil by decreasing its metabolism. Monitor for changes in the therapeutic and adverse effects of sufentanil if voriconazole is initiated, discontinued or dose changed.