Health Guide

Fentanyl (Absorbed through the skin)

Fentanyl (FEN-ta-nil)

Treats pain after surgery or other medical procedures. This medicine is a very strong narcotic pain reliever.

Brand Name(s):

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to fentanyl or cetylpyridinium chloride (Cepacol®).

How to Use This Medicine:

Device Assisted Patch

  • Your doctor will tell you how to use this medicine. Carefully follow what your doctor has instructed. Using this medicine wrong can cause serious health problems, including death. If you do not understand the directions or warnings, talk to your doctor.
  • A nurse or other trained health professional will give you this medicine.
  • This medicine comes with patient instructions. Read and follow these instructions carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

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

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are taking medicine to treat a fungal infection (such as ketoconazole, clotrimazole, or Nizoral®), rifampin (Rifadin®), carbamazepine, phenytoin, or St. John's Wort. Tell your doctor if you are also taking medicine to treat a bacterial infection (such as erythromycin, clarithromycin, Biaxin®, or Ery-tab®), or medicine to treat HIV or AIDS (such as ritonavir, lopinavir, or Kaletra®).
  • Tell your doctor if you are using any medicines that make you sleepy. These include sleeping pills, cold and allergy medicine, narcotic pain relievers, and sedatives.
  • Do not drink alcohol while you are using this medicine.

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have lung disease, trouble breathing, heart rhythm problems, liver disease, kidney disease, or a hearing problem. Tell your doctor if you have had a recent head injury, brain tumor, or other problem that could increase the pressure in your head. Also tell your doctor if you use narcotic pain medicines, or if you or anyone in your family has ever abused drugs or alcohol or had a drug addiction.
  • Using too much of this medicine can cause serious health problems, including death. Never let anyone else press the dosing button for you to prevent getting too much medicine.
  • The patch has metal parts that may affect certain tests such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, X-rays, or CAT scans. Make sure the patch is removed before you have any of these tests.
  • Do not touch the sticky side of the patch. Make sure that it does not come in contact with your fingers, eyes, or mouth. Tell your doctor or nurse right away if the patch comes off your skin. Never remove or replace the patch yourself. Wash your hands with water right away if you accidentally touch the sticky side of the patch, and tell your doctor or nurse right away.
  • This medicine will not be used at home. Make sure the patch is removed from your skin before you leave the hospital.
  • This medicine may make you dizzy or drowsy. Avoid doing anything that could be dangerous if you are not alert.
  • This medicine may be habit-forming. If you feel that the medicine is not working as well, do not use more than your prescribed dose. Call your doctor for instructions.
  • This medicine may cause constipation. This is more common if you use it for a long time. Ask your doctor if you should also use a laxative to prevent and treat constipation.

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.
  • Chest pain, or fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat.
  • Dry mouth, increased thirst, or muscle cramps.
  • Fever or chills.
  • Lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting.
  • Skin rash, itching, redness, or blisters where the patch is placed.
  • Stomach pain, severe constipation, or vomiting.
  • Trouble breathing, slow or shallow breathing.
  • Trouble urinating, or a decrease in how much or how often you urinate.

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

  • Headache.
  • Nausea.
  • Tiredness.

Last Updated: 6/12/2013
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