The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued a special public safety warning for the fentanyl patch (Duragesic), as this pain medication can cause potentially serious and life-threatening complications. This warning was issued to inform the public about using it safely. For instance, do not apply any heat to the fentanyl patch, as it can cause too much of the medication to be released.
An Introduction to Safety Warnings With the Fentanyl Patch
Fentanyl patch (Duragesic®) is a strong narcotic pain medication used for moderate-to-severe chronic pain that requires continuous, around-the-clock treatment. This medication comes in the form of a patch that is changed every 72 hours (three days).
After investigating reports of death and other serious side effects from fentanyl overdose, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a special public safety warning regarding fentanyl patch use.
The FDA Fentanyl Patch Safety Warning
The FDA safety warning was issued to advise the public on the safe use of fentanyl patches. The warning was issued after the FDA received reports of fentanyl overdoses and life-threatening side effects in people who incorrectly used fentanyl patches (both generic products and brand-name Duragesic).
Examples of incorrect use include using the patch for short-term (acute) pain, using more patches than prescribed, or applying a heat source to the patch (which causes more fentanyl than normal to be released from the patch).
United States Food and Drug Administration. Fentanyl Transdermal Patch: Important Information for the Safe Use of Fentanyl Transdermal System (Patch). Available at http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/PostmarketDrugSafetyInformationforPatientsandProviders/DrugSafetyInformationforHeathcareProfessionals/PublicHealthAdvisories/ucm048721.htm. Accessed January 6, 2010.
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