Highlights for fentanyl
fentanyl Side Effects
Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:
- allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
- breathing problems
- changes in vision
- feeling faint, lightheaded
- fever, flu-like symptoms
- high or low blood pressure
- irregular heartbeat
- problems with balance, talking, walking
- trouble passing urine or change in the amount of urine
- unusual bleeding or bruising
- unusually weak or tired
Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):
- dry mouth
- itching where the patch was applied
- loss of appetite
- nausea, vomiting
fentanyl May Interact with Other Medications
- grapefruit juice
- herbal products that contain St. John's wort
- medicines for depression, anxiety, or psychotic disturbances
- medicines for sleep
- muscle relaxants
- narcotic medicines (opiates) for pain
- phenobarbital, phenytoin, or fosphenytoin
How to Use fentanyl
Apply the patch to your skin. Do not cut or damage the patch. A cut or damaged patch can be very dangerous because you may get too much medicine. Select a clean, dry area of skin above your waist on your front or back. The upper back is a good spot to put the patch on children or people who are confused because it will be hard for them to remove the patch. Do not apply the patch to oily, broken, burned, cut, or irritated skin. Use only water to clean the area. Do not use soap or alcohol to clean the skin because this can increase the effects of the medicine. If the area is hairy, clip the hair with scissors, but do not shave.
Take the patch out of its wrapper, and take off the protective strip over the sticky part. Do not use a patch if the packaging or backing is damaged. Do not touch the sticky part with your fingers. Press the sticky surface to the skin using the palm of your hand. Press the patch to the skin for 30 seconds. Wash your hands at once with soap and water.
Keep patches far away from children. Do not let children see you apply the patch and do not apply it where children can see it. Do not call the patch a sticker, tattoo, or bandage, as this could encourage the child to mimic your actions. Used patches still contain medicine. Children or pets can have serious side effects or die from putting used patches in their mouth or on their bodies.
Take off the old patch before putting on a new patch. Apply each new patch to a different area of skin. If a patch comes off or causes irritation, remove it and apply a new patch to different site. If the edges of the patch start to loosen, first apply first aid tape to the edges of the patch. If problems with the patch not sticking continue, cover the patch with a see-through adhesive dressing (like Bioclusive or Tegaderm). Never cover the patch with any other bandage or tape.
To get rid of used patches, fold the patch in half with the sticky sides together. Then, flush it down the toilet. Do not discard the patch in the garbage. Pets and children can be harmed if they find used or lost patches. Replace the patch every 3 days or as directed by your doctor or health care professional. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Do not take more medicine than you are told to take.
A special MedGuide will be given to you by the pharmacist with each prescription and refill. Be sure to read this information carefully each time.
Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. While this drug may be prescribed for children as young as 2 years old for selected conditions, precautions do apply.
If someone accidentally uses a fentanyl patch and is not awake and alert, immediately call 911 for help. If the person is awake and alert, call a doctor, health care professional, or the Poison Control Center.
They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
- brain tumor
- Crohn's disease, inflammatory bowel disease, or ulcerative colitis
- drug abuse or addiction
- head injury
- heart disease
- if you frequently drink alcohol containing drinks
- kidney disease or problems going to the bathroom
- liver disease
- lung disease, asthma, or breathing problems
- mental problems
- skin problems
- taken isocarboxazid, phenelzine, tranylcypromine, or selegiline in the past 2 weeks
- an allergic or unusual reaction to fentanyl, meperidine, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
- pregnant or trying to get pregnant
If you forget to replace your patch, take off the old patch and put on a new patch as soon as you can. Do not apply an extra patch to your skin. Do not wear more than one patch at the same time unless told to do so by your doctor or health care professional.
Other pain medicine may be needed the first day you use the patch because the patch can take some time to start working. Tell your doctor or health care professional if your pain does not go away, if it gets worse, or if you have new or a different type of pain. You may develop tolerance to the medicine. Tolerance means that you will need a higher dose of the medicine for pain relief. Tolerance is normal and is expected if you take the medicine for a long time.
Have a family member watch you for side effects during the first day you wear a patch or if your dose changes.
Do not suddenly stop taking your medicine because you may develop a severe reaction. Your body becomes used to the medicine. This does NOT mean you are addicted. Addiction is a behavior related to getting and using a drug for a non-medical reason. If you have pain, you have a medical reason to take pain medicine. Your doctor will tell you how much medicine to take. If your doctor wants you to stop the medicine, the dose will be slowly lowered over time to avoid any side effects.
You may get drowsy or dizzy when you first start taking the medicine or change doses. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that may be dangerous until you know how the medicine affects you. Stand or sit up slowly.
There are different types of narcotic medicines (opiates) for pain. If you take more than one type at the same time, you may have more side effects. Give your health care provider a list of all medicines you use. Your doctor will tell you how much medicine to take. Do not take more medicine than directed. Call emergency for help if you have problems breathing.
The medicine will cause constipation. Try to have a bowel movement at least every 2 to 3 days. If you do not have a bowel movement for 3 days, call your doctor or health care professional.
Your mouth may get dry. Drinking water, chewing sugarless gum, or sucking on hard candy may help. See your dentist every 6 months.
Heat can increase the amount of medicine released from the patch. Do not get the patch hot by using heating pads, heated water beds, electric blankets, and heat lamps. You can bathe or swim while using the patch. But, do not use a sauna or hot tub. Tell you doctor or health care professional if you get a fever.
If gel leaks from the patch, wash your skin well with water only. Do not use soap or cleansers containing alcohol. Remove the patch from your skin and discard as instructed above. Medicine from a partly attached or leaking patch can transfer to a child or pet when they are being held. Exposure of children or pets to the patch can cause serious side effects and even death.
If you are going to have a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) procedure, tell your MRI technician if you have this patch on your body. It must be removed before a MRI.
Keep out of the reach of children. This medicine can be abused. Keep your medicine in a safe place to protect it from theft. Do not share this medicine with anyone. Selling or giving away this medicine is dangerous and against the law.
Store below 77 degrees F (25 degrees C). Do not store the patches out of their wrappers.
This medicine may cause accidental overdose and death if it is taken by other adults, children, or pets. Flush any unused medicine down the toilet as instructed above to reduce the chance of harm. Do not use the medicine after the expiration date.
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Last Updated: July 16, 2014