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

Fentanyl (Absorbed Through The Skin)

Fentanyl (FEN-ta-nil)

Treats severe, ongoing pain that cannot be controlled with other medicines. This medicine is a narcotic pain reliever.

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 or adhesives.

How to Use This Medicine:


  • Your doctor will tell you how many patches to use, where to apply them, and how often to apply them. Do not use more patches or apply them more often than your doctor tells you to.
  • This medicine comes with patient instructions. Read and follow these instructions carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
  • Leave the patch in its sealed wrapper until you are ready to put it on. Tear the wrapper open carefully. NEVER CUT the wrapper or the patch with scissors. Do not use any patch that has been cut by accident.
  • The patient instructions will show the body areas where you can wear the patch. When putting on each new patch, choose a different place within these areas. Do not put the new patch on the same place you wore the last one. Be sure to remove the old patch before applying a new one.
  • Do not put the patch over burns, cuts, or irritated skin. Do not use soap, lotion, or oil on the skin before putting on the patch.
  • Put on a new patch if the old one has fallen off and cannot be reapplied.

If a dose is missed:

  • If you forget to wear or change a patch, put one on as soon as you can. If it is almost time to put on your next patch, wait until then to apply the patch and skip the one you missed.
  • Do not apply extra patches to make up for a missed dose.
How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine:

  • Throw any used patch away so that children or pets cannot get to it. When you stop using this medicine, throw away any leftover patches you did not use. When throwing away a patch, fold it in half with the sticky sides together and flush it down the toilet.
  • Store the patches at room temperature in a closed container, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children and never share your medicine with anyone.
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 using antibiotics (such as erythromycin), medicine to treat fungal infections (such as Sporanox®, Nizoral®), medicines to treat HIV/AIDS (Norvir®, Crixivan®, Retrovir®, Viracept®, Invirase®, Fortovase®), rifampin (Rifadin®), carbamazepine (Tegretol®), or phenytoin (Dilantin®).
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are using any medicines that make you sleepy (such as sleeping pills, cold and allergy medicine, narcotic pain killers, or sedatives). Do not drink alcohol while you are using this medicine.
Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have lung disease, recent head injury, brain tumor, heart disease, heart rhythm problems, kidney disease, liver disease, or a history of drug or alcohol abuse.
  • This medicine should not be used by a child under 12 years old or by a person under 18 years old who weighs less than 110 pounds, except in certain research studies.
  • Do not let the patch get too hot or it may release too much medicine too quickly. Avoid direct sunlight and using electric blankets, heated waterbeds, saunas, sun lamps, and hot tubs. Call your doctor if you have a fever higher than 102°.
  • This medicine may be habit-forming. If you feel that the medicine is not working as well, do not use more than your prescribed dose. Call your doctor for instructions.
  • This medicine may make you dizzy or drowsy. Avoid driving, using machines, or doing anything else that could be dangerous if you are not alert.
Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine:

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

  • Slow, fast, or irregular heartbeat
  • Swelling in the hands, ankles, or feet
  • Trouble breathing, slow or shallow breathing, extreme weakness

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

  • Blurred vision
  • Itching, rash, redness, or swelling where the patch is applied
  • Nausea, vomiting, constipation
If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor.

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