If your healthcare provider has recommended the fentanyl patch (Duragesic®), you may be wondering about how this medication works and whether it is an appropriate choice for your particular situation.
This medicated patch is approved to treat persistent, moderate-to-severe chronic (long-lasting) pain. It should only be used to treat pain that is not adequately controlled with other pain medications and that requires continuous, around-the-clock treatment.
The fentanyl patch is an opioid narcotic medication. It should only be used in people who have already been using opioids and who are tolerant to the effects of these drugs. This patch can cause potentially dangerous, and even fatal, complications in people who are not accustomed to opioid medications.
Each fentanyl patch is worn continuously for three days (72 hours). After three days, a new patch is applied to a different skin site. Possible side effects include nausea, vomiting, and constipation.
(For more information about this pain medication, click Fentanyl Patch. This full-length article offers a complete overview of this medicated skin patch, including details on how it works, safety precautions, and more.)
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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.
National Library of Medicine (US). Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMED). NLM Web site. Available at: http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?LACT. Accessed January 5, 2010.
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