Generic fentanyl comes in oral lozenges, extended-release transdermal patches, and an injectable solution that’s only given by a healthcare provider. Brand-name fentanyl products include:
- Fentora, a buccal tablet
- Actiq, an oral lozenge
- Lazanda, a nasal spray
- Abstral, a sublingual tablet
- Subsys, a sublingual spray
- Duragesic, an extended-release transdermal patch
The transdermal patch is used for chronic pain in people who need around-the-clock treatment and who already regularly use opioid pain medications.
The other products are used for breakthrough pain in people who already receive around-the-clock opioids for cancer pain.
- Fentanyl transdermal patch is available as a generic drug and as a brand-name drug. Brand name: Duragesic.
- Fentanyl also comes as a buccal and sublingual tablet, oral lozenge, sublingual spray, nasal spray, and injectable.
- Fentanyl transdermal patch is used to treat chronic pain in opioid-tolerant people.
Fentanyl can cause mild or serious side effects. The following list contains some of the key side effects that may occur while taking fentanyl. This list doesn’t include all possible side effects.
For more information on the possible side effects of fentanyl, or tips on how to deal with a troubling side effect, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
Fentanyl can also cause other side effects.
Fentanyl Side Effects
The more common side effects that can occur with fentanyl include:
- redness and irritation of your skin where you apply the patch
- trouble sleeping
- increased sweating
- feeling cold
- loss of appetite
These effects may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
How to take fentanyl
The fentanyl dosage your doctor prescribes will depend on several factors. These include:
- the type and severity of the condition you’re using fentanyl to treat
- your age
- the form of fentanyl you take
- other medical conditions you may have
- whether you have used opioids before
- your tolerance levels
Typically, your doctor will start you on a low dosage and adjust it overtime to reach the dosage that’s right for you. They’ll ultimately prescribe the smallest dosage that provides the desired effect.
The following information describes dosages that are commonly used or recommended. However, be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. Your doctor will determine the best dosage to suit your needs.
Forms and strengths
- Generic: fentanyl
- Form: transdermal patch
- Strengths: 12.5 micrograms (mcg)/hour, 25 mcg/hour, 37.5 mcg/hour, 50 mcg/hour, 62.5 mcg/hour, 75 mcg/hour, 87.5 mcg/hour, and 100 mcg/hour
- Brand: Duragesic
- Form: transdermal patch
- Strengths: 12.5 mcg/hour, 25 mcg/hour, 37.5 mcg/hour, 50 mcg/hour, 75 mcg/hour, and 100 mcg/hour
TAKE AS DIRECTED
Fentanyl transdermal patch is generally used for the long-term treatment of severe chronic pain. It comes with serious risks if you don’t take it as prescribed.
If you stop taking the drug or don’t take it at all: If you don’t take it at all, you’ll continue to experience pain. If you stop taking the drug suddenly, you may experience symptoms of withdrawal, which can include:
- irritability or anxiousness
- trouble sleeping
- increase in your blood pressure
- fast breathing rate
- fast heart rate
- dilated pupils of your eyes
- nausea, vomiting, and a loss of appetite
- diarrhea and stomach cramps
- chills or hairs on your arms “stand up”
- muscle aches and backache
This medication patch may be harmful if chewed or swallowed. If someone has overdosed, remove the patch if possible. For serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, give them naloxone if available, then call 911. If the person is awake and has no symptoms, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include slow/shallow breathing, slow heartbeat, coma.
Do not share this medication with others. Sharing it is against the law.
This medication has been prescribed for your current condition only. Do not use it later for another condition unless told to do so by your doctor. A different medication may be necessary in that case.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you should have naloxone available to treat opioid overdose. Teach your family or household members about the signs of an opioid overdose and how to treat it.
If you leave a patch on for more than 3 days (72 hours), remove the patch and apply a new patch as soon as you remember. Do not double the dose to catch up.
- This drug has boxed warnings. These are the most serious warnings from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A boxed warning alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.
- Addiction and misuse warning. This drug can lead to addiction and misuse, which can result in overdose and death. Your doctor will assess your risk for addiction and misuse before and during treatment with the fentanyl transdermal patch.
- Decreased breathing rate warning. Fentanyl can make you breathe more slowly. This can lead to breathing failure and possibly death. Your risk is higher if you are older, have lung disease, or are given large initial doses. It’s also higher if you use fentanyl with other medications that can affect your breathing pattern.
- Heat exposure warning. Once you have applied the fentanyl patch to your skin, avoid exposing it to heat. This can cause your body to absorb more fentanyl than you should. This could result in a drug overdose and even death.
- Opioid withdrawal in newborns warning. If a woman takes this drug for a long time during pregnancy, it can lead to an opioid withdrawal syndrome in a newborn. This can be life-threatening for the baby. Symptoms of withdrawal may include irritability, hyperactivity and unusual sleep pattern, and a high-pitched cry. They can also include tremors, vomiting, diarrhea, and failure to gain weight.