The fentanyl patch (Duragesic®) is a prescription drug used to treat moderate-to-severe chronic pain. This long-acting opioid narcotic comes in the form of a skin patch that is applied every 72 hours. This medicated skin patch should only be used in people who are already tolerant to the effects of opioid medications.
Before starting treatment with this drug, make sure your healthcare provider has the most up-to-date information on your medical history. You may not be able to safely use fentanyl patches if you have certain medical conditions, such as asthma, a head injury, or a slow heart rate. Also, to avoid potentially dangerous drug interactions, make sure your healthcare provider knows about any other products you are taking, including nonprescription medications, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Most people tolerate this medicine well. When side effects do occur, they are generally mild and are easily treated. Some of the common side effects reported with fentanyl patches include constipation, nausea, and drowsiness.
(To learn more about this drug, click Fentanyl Patch. This article offers detailed information on the medication's safety and effectiveness, dosing guidelines, abuse potential, and more.)
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed January 4, 2010.
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