What is a Fentanyl Patch?
A fentanyl patch is a drug that contains the potent opioid fentanyl. It is used to treat severe pain. The patch is applied to the skin and delivers a steady dose of fentanyl over a period of time. The patch is usually applied once a day.
Fentanyl patches are safe and effective when used as directed. However, because they contain a potent opioid, there is a risk of overdose if they are not used correctly. It is important to follow the instructions on the package insert or on your healthcare provider’s website carefully.
If you have any questions about how to use the patch, or if you experience any side effects, please contact your healthcare provider.
How to use a Fentanyl Patch
If you are using a fentanyl patch for the first time, be sure to read all of the information provided to you by your pharmacist or doctor. This includes the Medication Guide and any other patient information leaflets.
The fentanyl patch is a transdermal system, which means it is a patch that is placed on the skin. It is usually applied to the chest, back, or upper arm. The patch is usually left in place for 3 days.
On the fourth day, the old patch is removed and a new patch is applied to a different area of skin. It is important to place the new patch on a different area to allow the skin to breathe.
Do not increase the number of patches or the amount of medicine in the patch without first talking to your health care provider.
If you skip a dose, apply the patch as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, do not apply the missed dose and just apply the next dose at the regular time.
Be sure to tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any other medical conditions, especially if you have ever had a seizure or head injury, or if you have any other allergies. This medicine may not be right for you.
Do not take this medicine if you are pregnant or think you may be pregnant. This medicine can cause birth defects. If you become pregnant while using this medicine, tell your doctor right away.
Do not breastfeed while using this medicine.
This medicine may be habit-forming and should be used only by the person it was prescribed for. Keep the patch in a safe place where others cannot get to it.
The patch contains a high amount of medicine that can be harmful to children or pets. If the patch falls off, fold it in half so that the sticky side does not touch anything and throw it away in a safe place.
Call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects: slow or shallow breathing, a light-headed feeling, fainting, or seizure (convulsions).
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Stop using this medicine and call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:
feeling short of breath, even with mild exertion;
swelling of your ankles or feet;
confusion, hallucinations, unusual thoughts or behavior;
feeling light-headed or fainting;
seizure (convulsions); or
slow heart rate.
Less serious side effects may include:
mild nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, or stomach pain;
drowsiness, tired feeling;
mild itching or skin rash;
redness, swelling, warmth, or itching where the patch is applied;
changes in taste; or
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Side Effects of a Fentanyl Patch
Fentanyl patches are a safe and effective way to treat pain when used as directed. However, there are some potential side effects that you should be aware of.
The most common side effect of fentanyl patches is itching. This is usually not a serious problem and can be treated by applying a cool compress to the affected area. If the itching is severe, you may need to switch to a different brand of patch.
Another potential side effect of fentanyl patches is depression. If you experience any changes in your mood or energy level, contact your doctor.
Adverse symptoms of fentanyl use can include shallow breathing, confusion, and dizziness. If you experience any of these symptoms, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital.
Fentanyl patches should be used only as needed, and should be removed after 30 minutes. If you accidentally leave a patch on for longer, remove it and discard it properly.
Abuse of fentanyl patches can lead to fatal overdose. If you or someone you know is abusing fentanyl patches, get help immediately.
Precautions when using a Fentanyl Patch
When using a fentanyl patch, it is important to be aware of some safety precautions. The patch contains a high concentration of the opioid fentanyl, which can be dangerous if not used properly. Here are some things to keep in mind when using a fentanyl patch:
1. Follow the instructions on the label carefully. The patch should only be used for chronic pain management, and it should be applied to a clean, dry area of the body.
2. Do not cut or alter the patch in any way.
3. Do not apply the patch to broken or irritated skin.
4. Do not use the patch if you are allergic to fentanyl or any other ingredients in the patch.
5. Be sure to keep the patch out of reach of children and pets.
If you have any questions about using the fentanyl patch, be sure to talk to your healthcare provider.