Drugs A - Z

Fentanyl Citrate Oral dissolving film

It is used to treat breakthrough cancer pain that your long acting pain medicine does not control

Generic Name: fentanyl transmucosal

Brand Names: Fentanyl Citrate, Actiq

There is an FDA Alert for this drug. Click here to view it.

What is this medicine?

FENTANYL (FEN ta nil) is a pain reliever. It is used to treat breakthrough cancer pain that your long acting pain medicine does not control. Do not use this medicine for a pain that will go away in a few days like pain from surgery, doctor, or dentist visits. The medicine is used only by people who have been taking an opioid or narcotic pain medicine for at least a week.

What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
  • brain tumor
  • breathing problems
  • drug abuse or addiction
  • head injury
  • if you frequently drink alcohol containing drinks
  • kidney disease
  • liver disease
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to fentanyl, other opioid analgesics, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I use this medicine?

Use this medicine in the mouth. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Wet the application area with tongue or rinse mouth with water before using this medicine. Open package with dry hands just before you are ready to use it. Do not cut or tear the film. Use the tip of a dry finger to put one film in the mouth at a time with the pink side of the film facing the cheek. Hold the medicine film in place for 5 seconds. If you use more than one film for a dose, put them in different places on your cheek. Do not overlap or stack films. After you place the medicine on your cheek: (1.) leave the film in place until it dissolves away; (2.) do not move or touch the film with fingers or tongue; (3.) do not drink for 5 minutes; and (4.) do not eat until the film is gone. Do not take your medicine more often than directed.

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. This medicine is not approved for use in children.

Patients over 65 years old may have a stronger reaction and need a smaller dose.

Overdosage: If you think you've taken too much of this medicine contact a poison control center or emergency room at once.

What if I miss a dose?

This medicine is only used when needed for pain.

What may interact with this medicine?

  • alcohol
  • antihistamines
  • barbiturates, like phenobarbital
  • clarithromycin, erythromycin
  • general anesthetics
  • grapefruit juice
  • itraconazole, ketoconazole
  • MAOIs like Carbex, Eldepryl, Marplan, Nardil, and Parnate
  • medicines for depression, anxiety, or psychotic disturbances
  • medicines for HIV
  • medicines for sleep
  • muscle relaxants
  • naltrexone
  • narcotic medicines (opiates) for pain
  • phenothiazines like chlorpromazine, mesoridazine, prochlorperazine, thioridazine
  • verapamil

Last Updated: August 22, 2012
Licensed from
The Healthline Site, its content, such as text, graphics, images, search results, HealthMaps, Trust Marks, and other material contained on the Healthline Site ("Content"), its services, and any information or material posted on the Healthline Site by third parties are provided for informational purposes only. None of the foregoing is a substitute for professional medical advice, examination, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on the Healthline Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately. Please read the Terms of Service for more information regarding use of the Healthline Site.