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Table of Contents > Drugs >  Fentanyl
Fentanyl
Pronunciation
Brand Names
Foreign Brand Names
Therapeutic Categories
What key warnings should I know about before taking this medicine?
Reasons not to take this medicine
What is this medicine used for?
How does it work?
How is it best taken?
What do I do if I miss a dose?
What are the precautions when taking this medicine?
What are the common side effects of this medicine?
What should I monitor?
Reasons to call healthcare provider immediately
How should I store this medicine?
General statements

Pronunciation
(FEN ta nil)

Brand Names
Actiq® Oral Transmucosal; Duragesic® Transdermal; Fentanyl Oralet®; Sublimaze® Injection

Foreign Brand Names
Durogesic (Mexico); Fentanest® (Mexico)

Therapeutic Categories
Analgesic, Narcotic; General Anesthetic

What key warnings should I know about before taking this medicine?

  • This warning is for Actiq® only. It is for cancer pain that is poorly treated by your other pain medicines. It is not to be used for pain caused by an operation (surgery). Keep away from children. It could kill a child.


Reasons not to take this medicine

  • If you have an allergy to fentanyl or any other part of the medicine.
  • If you have any of the following conditions: Increased pressure in the brain, severe lung problems, severe liver disease, severe kidney disease.


What is this medicine used for?

  • This medicine is used to decrease pain.
  • Skin patch is used for long-term pain that needs continuous medicine delivery.
  • Lollipop (Actiq®) is used for cancer pain that comes through the usual pain medicine.


How does it work?

  • Fentanyl binds to brain receptors, relieving pain. The feeling of pain and a person's response to pain are also decreased.


How is it best taken?

  • Make sure you are drinking enough liquids unless told to drink less by healthcare provider. Avoid products with caffeine.
  • Do not suddenly stop using this medicine if you have been taking it for a long time. Medicine should be slowly decreased.
  • Skin patch:
    • Apply skin patch (sticky side to skin) to dry nonirritated and nonirradiated skin (chest, back, upper leg, upper arm).
    • Clip (do not shave) hair at site before putting patch on.
    • Rotate patch site every 3 days.
  • Lollipop:
    • Place the lollipop in your mouth between the cheek and lower gum.
    • Suck it. Do not chew or bite. It should take about 15 minutes to use.
    • This medicine is taken on an as needed basis for pain not treated by your other medicine.


What do I do if I miss a dose?

  • Use a missed dose as soon as possible.
  • If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed one. Return to your regular schedule.
  • Many times this medicine is taken on an as needed basis.


What are the precautions when taking this medicine?

  • This medicine may be habit-forming with long-term use.
  • If you are 65 or older, you may have more side effects.
  • You may not be alert. Avoid driving, doing other tasks or activities until you see how this medicine affects you.
  • Avoid alcohol (includes wine, beer, and liquor) and other medicines and herbs that slow your actions and reactions. This includes sedatives, tranquilizers, mood stabilizers, or pain medicine. Talk with healthcare provider.
  • Be careful about throwing away the lollipops. It would be dangerous if anyone else ate them.
  • Tell healthcare provider if you have lung disease. You may be more sensitive to this medicine.
  • Tell healthcare provider if you are allergic to any medicine. Make sure to tell about the allergy and how it affected you. This includes telling about rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, throat; or any other symptoms involved.
  • Tell healthcare provider if you are pregnant or plan on getting pregnant.
  • Tell healthcare provider if you are breast-feeding.


What are the common side effects of this medicine?

  • Feeling sleepy, lightheaded, dizzy, or having blurred vision. Avoid driving, doing other tasks or activities that require you to be alert until you see how this medicine affects you.
  • Nausea or vomiting. Small frequent meals, frequent mouth care, sucking hard candy, or chewing gum may help.
  • Constipation. More liquids, regular exercise, or a fiber-containing diet may help. Talk to healthcare provider about a stool softener or laxative.


What should I monitor?

  • Keep a diary of how well your pain is controlled. If not well controlled, talk with healthcare provider.
  • If no bowel movements in 3 days, talk with healthcare provider.


Reasons to call healthcare provider immediately

  • Signs of a life-threatening reaction. These include wheezing; tightness in the chest; fever; itching; bad cough; blue skin color; fits; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Too tired or sleepy.
  • Changes in thinking clearly and logically.
  • Passing out, fainting, dizziness, or lightheadedness.
  • Difficult breathing.
  • Severe nausea or vomiting.
  • Any rash.


How should I store this medicine?

  • Store at room temperature.
  • Protect from freezing and moisture.


General statements

  • Do not share your medicine with others and do not take anyone else's medicine.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children and pets (could kill them).
  • Keep a list of all your medicines (prescription, herbal/supplements, vitamins, over-the-counter) with you. Give this list to healthcare provider (doctor, nurse, pharmacist, physician assistant).
  • Talk with healthcare provider before starting any new medicine, including over-the-counter or natural products (herbs, vitamins).


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