Author: Charles Frank

Fentanyl Patch: How to Apply, Warnings & Side Effects

what is a fentanyl patch

Wear the new patch for the period of time prescribed by your doctor (usually 3 days) and then replace it. Do not wear two patches at once unless your doctor has told you that you should. If you take other medications that also cause drowsiness such as other narcotic pain medications, benzodiazepines, or other medications for sleep, you may have more side effects.

With their curious minds and desire to mimic their parents, a child may place a patch on their lower back or touch it with their fingers. Even after 72-hour use, there are still traces of the drug left on the adhesive that can cause an overdose in young children. Check the labels on all your medicines (such as allergy or cough-and-cold products) because they may contain ingredients that cause drowsiness. Ask your pharmacist about using those products safely. Taking MAO inhibitors with this medication may cause a serious (possibly fatal) drug interaction.

Accidental Exposures to Fentanyl Patches Continue to Be Deadly to Children

Talk to your doctor about how you are feeling during your treatment with fentanyl patches. 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.

Store fentanyl patches in a safe place so that no one else can use them accidentally or on purpose. Be especially careful to keep fentanyl patches out of the reach of children. Keep track of how many patches are left so you will know if any are missing. Do not drink alcohol, take prescription or nonprescription medications that contain alcohol, or use street drugs during your treatment. This list may not describe all possible interactions. Give your health care provider a list of all the medicines, herbs, non-prescription drugs, or dietary supplements you use.

Some effects of the patch will continue for 18 hours after it is removed because the medicine has already been absorbed into the skin. The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor’s orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so. Do not change to another form of fentanyl eg injection, skin patch, dissolving film, or “lollipop” device.

what is a fentanyl patch

A certain amount of the medicine must build up in the skin before it is absorbed into the body. Up to a full day (24 hours) may pass before the first dose begins to work. Your doctor may need to adjust the dose during the first few weeks before finding the amount that works best for you. Even if you feel that the medicine is not working, do not increase the amount of fentanyl skin patch that you apply. Do not use more of it, do not use it more often, and do not use it for a longer time than your doctor ordered. This is especially important for elderly patients, who may be more sensitive to the effects of pain medicines.

More common side effects

Do not stand up or sit up quickly, especially if you are an older patient. Alcohol may interfere with the effect of this medication. 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. The reason to give medicine through a patch is that your child will get the medicine continuously without having to swallow it or have an intravenous (IV) line. Together is a new resource for anyone affected by pediatric cancer – patients and their parents, family members, and friends.

Some manufacturers recommend that this product should not be used by children younger than 18 years. If someone accidentally swallows this drug, get medical help right away. Do not use the patch if it appears to be broken, cut, or damaged. Remove from the sealed pouch, peel off the protective liner, and apply right away to the skin. Press firmly in place with the palm of the hand for 30 seconds, making sure the contact is complete (especially around the edges).

  1. A patient is opioid-tolerant if oral narcotics have already been used for severe pain.
  2. The patches come in four different, transparent sizes beginning at 2.75 mg of fentanyl up to 11.0 mg of fentanyl.
  3. If your fentanyl patch is exposed to extreme heat, it may release too much medication into your body at once.
  4. While this medication may be prescribed for children as young as 2 years old for selected conditions, precautions do apply.
  5. Data sources include Micromedex (updated 3 Mar 2024), Cerner Multum™ (updated 4 Mar 2024), ASHP (updated 12 Feb 2024) and others.

If you leave a patch on for more than 3 days (72 hours), remove the patch and apply a new patch as soon as you remember. Other medications can affect the removal of fentanyl from your body, which may affect how fentanyl works. Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially confusion, dizziness, drowsiness, and slow/shallow breathing.

Do not use a fentanyl patch that is cut, damaged, or changed in any way. If you use cut or damaged patches, you may receive most or all of the medication at once, instead of slowly over 3 days. This may cause serious problems, including overdose and death. Fentanyl patches may harm or cause death to other adults and children who use them.

Tell your doctor promptly if you develop a fever, since this rise in body temperature may cause overdose (see also Warning section). Avoid activities that might cause your body temperature to rise. (such as doing strenuous work/exercise in hot weather). When this medication is used for a long time, it may not work as well. Talk with your doctor if this medication stops working well.

What is fentanyl nasal spray?

It belongs to a group of medication called opioids. That’s why the drug comes with special instructions on how to dispose of used or leftover patches. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration urges parents and caregivers to take precautions and make sure that these patches are stored, used and disposed of properly.

Naloxone can be given to children and anyone who may have been exposed to a fentanyl patch. Fentanyl has a risk for abuse and addiction, which can lead to overdose and death. Fentanyl may also cause severe, possibly fatal, breathing problems. Do not use transdermal patches unless you have been regularly using moderate to large amounts of opioid pain medication. To lower your risk, your doctor should have you use the smallest dose of fentanyl that works, and use it for the shortest possible time. See also How to Use section for more information about addiction.

Fentanyl overdose symptoms

Physical dependence may lead to withdrawal side effects if treatment is stopped suddenly. However, severe withdrawal side effects can usually be prevented by gradually reducing the dose over a period of time before treatment is stopped completely. Transdermal fentanyl comes as a patch to apply to the skin.