Fentanyl

(FEN-tuh-nil)

Fentanyl (Duragesic, Fentanyl Oralet) is a medicine used to relieve moderate or severe pain.

While in the hospital, this medication is given by IV (intravenous) infusion. It is frequently given as a continuous infusion of medication into the central line or IV site, and the dose is increased as needed to control pain. Extra bolus doses can be given as needed to help with pain control.

This medication may be administered by a method called patient controlled administration (PCA) in which extra doses can be controlled by you or your child.

Another way this medication may be administered is by placing a patch on the skin, and the medication slowly enters your child's body through the skin. 

This medication is available as an injection, solution, oral lozenge, patch, and a buccal (between gums and cheek) or sublingual (under the tongue) tablet.

  • Fentanyl should be given on a regular schedule or as prescribed by your child's doctor. If you have been giving your child fentanyl on a regular schedule, do not stop giving it unless told to do so by your child's doctor. The dose may need to be lowered slowly before stopping.
  • Contact your doctor if you give your child too much fentanyl.
  • Do not give this medicine if your child is allergic to fentanyl.
  • Fentanyl may make your child drowsy. Watch carefully if your child is performing a task requiring alertness, such as climbing stairs, riding a bike, skating, etc. Do not give fentanyl at the same time with other medications that may cause drowsiness (lorazepam, diphenhydramine) without discussing this with your child's doctor.
  • Contact your physician if any new rashes develop. If your child has respiratory problems, or a history of drug abuse, inform the doctor. Addiction and breathing problems are rare when fentanyl is taken the correct way.
  • This medication may cause constipation. Your child's doctor may prescribe other medicine to help treat / prevent constipation.
  • Call your child's doctor if the pain is not helped by this medicine.
  • If too much medicine is taken by accident, call the Drug and Poison Information Center (DPIC), 513-636-5111 or 1-800-222-1222, or call your child's doctor immediately.
  • Keep this medication out of the reach of children.
  • Do not use after the expiration date on the bottle / package.

If you miss a dose of this medication, give it as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to the regular dosing schedule. Do not give a double dose to catch up. If two or more doses are missed, contact your child's doctor.

If you're using a patch and you forget to change it on the scheduled day, change the patch as soon as you remember it. Do not try to get back to your old schedule, just begin a new schedule.

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation (to avoid constipation, increase fluids and fiber in your child's diet, or use a stool softener medicine)
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Increased pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Shakiness and sweating
  • Rash
  • Excessive drowsiness
  • Carefully remove the patch from the package and place on the front or back of the upper body trunk. If the area needs to be cleaned prior to applying the patch, do so with clean water and make sure the area is dry before applying the patch. Do not use soaps, oils, lotions, alcohol or other agents that might irritate the skin.
  • Do not place the patch on skin that is irritated or in areas with scratches or cuts.
  • Do not put a new patch in the exact same spot where a patch has just been removed.
  • Do not cut the patch.
  • Do not wash or scrub the area where a patch has just been removed. This will cause medication that is on the skin to be further absorbed by the body.
  • Do not use soap, alcohol or other solvents to remove gel from the patch if it accidentally touches skin; just use lots and lots of water.
  • Patches should be changed every three days (72 hours).
  • When a patch is placed on the skin for the very first time, the pain relief effects are not seen for 12-24 hours. Therefore, another form of pain control must be utilized for the first day only.
  • When discarding a patch, fold it over so the “sticky” sides stick together to prevent any drug from getting on someone's skin. Keep these used patches out of the reach of children and pets. They should be flushed down the toilet.
  • If you develop any new rashes, ask your doctor before applying the patch.
  • When replacing patches, do not forget to remove the old patch.
  • A plastic, sticky protection device may be provided to help hold the patch in place.
  • If your child has been receiving fentanyl for a long period of time and the dose is being decreased gradually, your physician may instruct you to leave a patch on for more than 72 hours.
  • Injectable: 0.05 mg per 1 ml
  • Transdermal patches: 25 mcg per hour, 50 mcg per hour, 75 mcg per hour, 100 mcg per hour

Last Updated 11/2013