Skip to main content

Fentanyl (Absorbed through the skin)

Fentanyl (FEN-ta-nil)

Treats severe pain. This medicine is a narcotic pain reliever.

Brand Name(s):

Duragesic, Novaplus fentaNYL, Novaplus fentaNYL Transdermal System

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

This medicine is not right for everyone. Do not use it if you had an allergic reaction to fentanyl or adhesives, or if you have severe breathing or lung problems or paralytic ileus.

How to Use This Medicine:

Patch

  • Your doctor will tell you how many patches to use, where to apply them, and how often to apply them. Do not use more patches or apply them more often than your doctor tells you to. An overdose can be dangerous. Follow directions carefully so you do not get too much medicine at one time.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water before and after applying a patch.
  • Leave the patch in its sealed wrapper until you are ready to put it on. Tear the wrapper open carefully. NEVER CUT the wrapper or the patch with scissors. Do not use any patch that has been cut by accident. Do not use this medicine if the pouch seal is broken or if the patch is damaged in any way. If any medicine leaks out of the patch and gets directly on your skin, wash it off right away with water.
  • Do not use soap, lotion, alcohol, or oil on your skin before you apply the patch. Wash the skin only with water and let it dry completely. Do not shave the skin where you will apply the patch. You may cut the hair with a pair of scissors.
  • The patient instructions will show the body areas where you can wear the patch. When putting on each new patch, choose a different place within these areas. Do not put the new patch on the same place you wore the last one. Be sure to remove the old patch before applying a new one. After you apply the patch, push down on it with the palm of your hand for 30 seconds to make sure it sticks to your skin.
  • Do not put the patch over burns, cuts, or irritated skin.
  • Put on a new patch if the old one has fallen off and cannot be reapplied. If a patch is loose, tape it to your skin with first aid tape.
  • This medicine should come with a Medication Guide. Ask your pharmacist for a copy if you do not have one.
  • Missed dose: If you forget to wear or change a patch, put one on as soon as you can. If it is almost time to put on your next patch, wait until then to apply a new patch and skip the one you missed. Do not apply extra patches to make up for a missed dose.
  • Store the patches at room temperature in the original package, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
  • Throw any used patch away so that children or pets cannot get to it. Fold it in half with the sticky sides together and flush it down the toilet. Then wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. You may also place the used patch in the patch disposal unit to be thrown in a trash can. Do the same with any unused patches.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Some foods and medicines can affect how fentanyl works. Tell your doctor if you are using amiodarone, aprepitant, carbamazepine, diltiazem, nefazodone, phenytoin, rifampin, verapamil, medicine to treat an infection (such as clarithromycin, erythromycin, fluconazole, itraconazole, ketoconazole, troleandomycin), medicine to treat HIV/AIDS (such as amprenavir, fosamprenavir, nelfinavir, ritonavir), a phenothiazine medicine, or an MAO inhibitor (MAOI) within the past 14 days.
  • Tell your doctor if you use anything else that makes you sleepy. Some examples are allergy medicine, narcotic pain medicine, and alcohol. Tell your doctor if you are also using buprenorphine, butorphanol, nalbuphine, pentazocine, or a muscle relaxer.
  • Do not drink alcohol while you are using this medicine.
  • Do not eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice while you are using this medicine.

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have kidney disease, liver disease, breathing or lung problems (such as COPD), gallbladder disease, heart disease, low blood pressure, heart rhythm problems, stomach or bowel problems, or pancreas problems. Tell your doctor if you have a history of head injury, brain tumor, depression, seizures, or alcohol or drug abuse.
  • This medicine may cause the following problems:
    • High risk of overdose, which can lead to death
    • Respiratory depression (serious breathing problem that can be life-threatening)
  • Do not let the patch get too hot. Avoid direct sunlight, and do not use a heating pad, electric blanket, heated water bed, sauna, sun lamp, or hot tub. Call your doctor if you have a fever higher than 102 degrees F.
  • Be careful about letting other people come in contact with your patch. If any medicine gets on another person, wash it off right away with water.
  • This medicine may make you dizzy, drowsy, or faint. Do not drive or do anything else that could be dangerous until you know how this medicine affects you. Sit or lie down if you feel dizzy. Stand up carefully.
  • This medicine can be habit-forming. Do not use more than your prescribed dose. Call your doctor if you think your medicine is not working.
  • Do not stop using this medicine suddenly. Your doctor will need to slowly decrease your dose before you stop it completely.
  • This medicine may cause constipation, especially with long-term use. Ask your doctor if you should use a laxative to prevent and treat constipation.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children. Never share your medicine with anyone.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine:

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Blue lips, fingernails, or skin
  • Extreme dizziness or weakness, shallow breathing, slow or uneven heartbeat, sweating, cold or clammy skin, seizures
  • Severe confusion, lightheadedness, dizziness, fainting
  • Severe constipation, stomach pain, or vomiting
  • Trouble breathing or slow breathing

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Headache
  • Mild constipation, nausea, or vomiting
  • Mild sleepiness or tiredness
  • Redness, itching, or mild skin rash where the patch is placed

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088


Last Updated: 11/4/2014
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites.
Copyright © 1984- Truven Health Analytics. All rights reserved.

Thomson & A.D.A.M