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Ask Dr. D. Love Your Own Question
Dr. D. Love
Dr. D. Love, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 17544
Experience:  Family Physician for 10 years; Hospital Medical Director for 10 years.
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I just had an epidural done (lower back disc) and the

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I just had an epidural done (lower back for herniated disc) and the anesthesiologist gave me a blend of Fentanyl Propofol and Versed. I have had other epidurals and awoke fine and alert, this time was drowsy with Nausea. I checked the records on the last few and they were Propofol and Versed, with slight changes in dosage. Fentanyl was in my first one at half the dose I just got and I don't recall any issues. At the surgery center the anesthesiologist changes all the time.
I have Fatty liver from alcohol and stopped drinking 3.5 months ago. Levels dropped dramatically after 2 months and I am tracking to be normal by March. I didn't mention it because I didn't think there would be interactions. I just read about Fentanyl and I am wondering if I just set my liver back a little, a lot or not at all.
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 10 months ago.

Hello from JustAnswer.

No, this adverse reaction to the epidural will not set your liver back.

First, it is far more likely that this was a simple side effect to the fentanyl. Drowsiness and nausea are very common side effects to all opiates, and are more common when the stronger opiates are used. In addition, since the fentanyl was used at twice the dose the dose that was previously used, it is not surprising or worrisome that you developed drowsiness or nausea with this epidural when it was well tolerated previously.

Second, even in the rare situation in which the fentanyl could have a direct adverse effect on the liver, the effect will be transient, since the fentanyl has only been used for this injection. The duration of the effect would be minimal for a single injection, whether an epidural infection or any other route of administration. So, there is no reason for concern that it could have set back the recovery of the liver.

So, it would be far more likely that this is a common side effect, but even if it is a rare effect o the liver, there is no reason for concern that it will have a lasting effect. The only issue at this point would be to bring this reaction to the attention of any doctor intending to perform an epidural in the future.

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Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 10 months ago.

Please let me know if I can provide some additional assistance.