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You are here : 3-RX.com > Drugs & Medications > Quick Drug Information (DrugNotes) > Fentanyl (Oral)

Fentanyl (By Mouth)

Fentanyl (FEN-ta-nil)

Treats cancer pain in patients whose pain is not always relieved by other pain medicines. Belongs to a class of drugs called narcotic analgesics.

Brand Name(s):

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to fentanyl.

How to Use This Medicine:


  • Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to use and how often. Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to.
  • You should receive an Actiq® Welcome Kit that includes patient instructions and storage containers. Read the instructions carefully before using this medicine.
  • Use scissors to open the foil pouch when you are ready to use the medicine.
  • Place the medicine in your mouth between the cheek and lower gum and suck on the medicine. Do not chew the medicine.
  • Use the handle to move the medicine from one side to the other.
  • Finishing all the medicine in 15 minutes will give you the most relief.
  • Check with your doctor before you stop using this medicine. You may need to take fewer or smaller amounts before stopping completely.
  • This medicine could cause serious illness or death if taken by a child.

If a dose is missed:

  • Use your medicine as soon as possible unless it is almost time for your next dose.
  • Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next regular dose.
  • Do not use two doses at the same time.
How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine:

  • Keep the medicine in the sealed pouch until ready to use. Do not use the medicine if the foil pouch has been damaged or opened.
  • Store the medicine at room temperature in a closed container, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Do not refrigerate or freeze.
  • To dispose of any unused medicine, follow the patient instructions in the Welcome kit. Call 1-800-896-5855 if you have questions about this. Before throwing the handle away, rinse the used handle with hot tap water until all medicine left on the handle is dissolved.
  • Throw the handle away in a trash container that is out of the reach of children.
  • If you cannot rinse and throw away the handle or partially used medicine right away, put it in the temporary storage bottle you should have received with your Actiq® Welcome kit. Then rinse the handle and throw it away as soon as possible.
  • Keep this and all medicine out of the reach of children.
Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are also taking any other pain medicines or medicines that make you sleepy such as sleeping pills, cold and allergy medicine, muscle relaxants, or medicines for depression or nervousness.
  • Tell your doctor if you are also using erythromycin, itraconazole (Sporanox®), ketoconazole (Nizoral®), MAO inhibitors (Eldepryl®, Marplan®, Nardil®, Parnate®), or ritonavir (Norvir®), or if you drink alcoholic beverages.
Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, talk to your doctor before taking this medicine.
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you have kidney disease, liver disease, lung disease, or slow heartbeat.
  • This medicine may make you drowsy or dizzy. Avoid driving a car or using machinery after taking a dose of this medicine.
  • Using this narcotic pain medicine may cause constipation. Follow your doctor's instructions to help prevent this.
  • This medicine does not replace the pain medicine you take on a regular schedule. Do not stop taking other pain medicine prescribed by your doctor.
  • This medicine can cause illness or death in anyone who is not already taking prescription medicine on a regular schedule for cancer pain. Do not share this medicine with others.
Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine:

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Blue lips, fingernails, or skin
  • Blurred vision or confusion
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness, or faintness
  • Fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat
  • Wheezing or trouble breathing

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Constipation
  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sleepiness
If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor.

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