Fentanyl Patch Warning

Safety Information

The FDA warning highlights the following important fentanyl patch safety information:
 
  • Fentanyl patches should only be used in people who have already been taking opioid medications and who are tolerant to opioid effects.
 
  • Fentanyl patches are only intended to treat chronic (long-term) pain that is not adequately controlled with other pain medications. They should not be used to treat occasional pain, mild pain, short-term pain (acute pain), or pain after surgery.
 
  • Anyone who uses fentanyl patches should be aware of the signs of a fentanyl overdose, such as:
 
    • Problems breathing, such as shallow and slow breaths
    • A slow heart rate
    • Severe sleepiness
    • Cold and clammy skin
    • Difficulty walking or talking normally
    • Confusion
    • Feeling faint or dizzy.
 
  • Because many medications can interact with fentanyl, it is important that people using fentanyl tell their healthcare provider about all of the medications they are taking (see Drug Interactions With Fentanyl Patch for more information).
 
  • It is very important to follow the exact instructions on how to apply, replace, and dispose of the patches. These instructions are included in a medication guide that comes with your prescription. If you do not receive a medication guide, or have questions about the guide, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist.
 
  • Any increased heat may cause too much fentanyl to be released from the patch, potentially leading to an overdose. Therefore, people wearing fentanyl patches should:
 
    • Avoid heat sources, such as heating pads, electric blankets, tanning beds, hot tubs, or saunas
    • Avoid sunbathing or hot baths
    • Contact a healthcare provider immediately if a fever higher than 102°F develops while wearing a fentanyl patch.
 
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