Fentanyl

Pediatric Medication

This information from Lexicomp® explains what you need to know about this medication, including what it’s used for, how to take it, its side effects, and when to call your healthcare provider.

Brand Names: US

Abstral; Actiq; Duragesic; Fentora; Ionsys; Lazanda; Onsolis [DSC]; Sublimaze; Subsys

Brand Names: Canada

Abstral; Duragesic; Fentora

Warning

All products:

  • This drug may cause very bad and sometimes deadly breathing problems. Call the doctor right away if your child has slow, shallow, or trouble breathing.
  • The chance of very bad and sometimes deadly breathing problems may be greater when your child first starts this drug or anytime the dose is raised. Talk with your child’s doctor.
  • Even one dose of this drug may be deadly if it is taken by someone else or by accident, especially in children. If this drug is taken by someone else or by accident, get medical help right away.
  • Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
  • This drug may be habit-forming with long-term use.
  • This drug is a strong pain drug that can put your child at risk for addiction, abuse, and misuse. Misuse or abuse of this drug can lead to overdose and death. Talk with your child’s doctor.
  • Your child will be watched closely to make sure your child does not misuse, abuse, or become addicted to this drug.
  • This drug has an opioid drug in it. Severe side effects have happened when opioid drugs were used with benzodiazepines or other drugs that may make you drowsy or slow your actions. This includes slow or troubled breathing and death. Benzodiazepines include drugs like alprazolam, diazepam, and lorazepam. Benzodiazepines may be used to treat many health problems like anxiety, trouble sleeping, or seizures. If you have questions, talk with your doctor.
  • Many other drugs interact with this drug. These drugs can raise the chance of side effects as well as very bad and sometimes deadly breathing problems. Talk with the doctor and pharmacist to make sure that it is safe for your child to use this drug with all of his/her other drugs.
  • Be sure your child does not drink alcohol or use products that have alcohol. Unsafe and sometimes deadly effects may happen.
  • Get medical help right away if your child does not respond, answer, or react like normal; feels very sleepy or dizzy; passes out; or will not wake up.

If your child is pregnant:

  • Using this drug for a long time during pregnancy may lead to withdrawal in the newborn baby. This can be life-threatening. Talk with the doctor.

Skin patch (Duragesic):

  • Have your child avoid use of heat sources (such as sunlamps, tanning beds, heating pads, electric blankets, heat lamps, saunas, hot tubs, heated waterbeds). Avoid long, hot baths or sunbathing. Your child’s temperature may rise and cause too much drug to pass into your child’s body.

What is this drug used for?

  • It is used to ease pain.

All products other than injection:

  • This drug is not for mild pain or pain that only lasts a short time (like headaches, toothaches, or pain after surgery).
  • This drug is only for use by people who have been taking pain drugs (opioids) and are used to their effects. Talk with the doctor.

Skin system (Ionsys) :

  • If your child has been given this form of this drug, talk with the doctor for information about the benefits and risks. Talk with the doctor if you have questions or concerns about giving this drug to your child.

What do I need to tell the doctor BEFORE my child takes this drug?

All products:

  • If your child is allergic to this drug; any part of this drug; or any other drugs, foods, or substances. Tell the doctor about the allergy and what signs your child had.
  • If your child has any of these health problems: Lung or breathing problems like asthma, trouble breathing, or sleep apnea; high levels of carbon dioxide in the blood, or stomach or bowel block or narrowing.
  • If your child has any of these health problems: Kidney disease or liver disease.
  • If your child has taken certain drugs for depression or certain other health problems in the last 14 days. This includes isocarboxazid, phenelzine, or tranylcypromine. Very high blood pressure may happen.
  • If your child is taking any of these drugs: Linezolid or methylene blue.
  • If your child is taking any of these drugs: Buprenorphine, butorphanol, nalbuphine, or pentazocine.

If your child is breast-feeding a baby:

  • Talk with the doctor if your child is breast-feeding a baby or plans to breast-feed a baby.

Under the tongue (sublingual) spray:

  • If your child has sores in the mouth.

This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with this drug.

Tell the doctor and pharmacist about all of your child’s drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for your child to take this drug with all of his/her drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug your child takes without checking with the doctor.

What are some things I need to know or do while my child takes this drug?

All products:

  • Tell all of your child’s health care providers that your child is taking this drug. This includes your child’s doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
  • Have your child avoid tasks or actions that call for alertness until you see how this drug affects your child. These are things like riding a bike, playing sports, or using items such as scissors, lawnmowers, electric scooters, toy cars, or motorized vehicles.
  • To lower the chance of feeling dizzy or passing out, have your child rise slowly if your child has been sitting or lying down. Have your child be careful going up and down stairs.
  • Long-term or regular use of opioid drugs like this drug may lead to dependence. Lowering the dose or stopping this drug all of a sudden may cause a greater risk of withdrawal or other severe problems. Talk to your child’s doctor before you lower the dose or stop giving this drug. You will need to follow the doctor’s instructions. Tell your child’s doctor if your child has more pain, mood changes, thoughts of suicide, or any other bad effects.
  • Do not give your child more of this drug than what the doctor told you to give. Giving more of this drug than you are told may raise the chance of very bad side effects.
  • Do not give this drug with other strong pain drugs or pain patches without talking to your child’s doctor first.
  • If your child drinks grapefruit juice or eats grapefruit often, talk with your child’s doctor.
  • This drug may raise the chance of seizures in some people, including people who have had seizures in the past. Talk to the doctor to see if your child has a greater chance of seizures while taking this drug.

If your child is pregnant:

  • This drug may cause harm to the unborn baby if your child takes it during pregnancy. If your child is pregnant or gets pregnant while taking this drug, call the doctor right away.

Lozenge:

  • Take care of your child’s teeth. See a dentist often.
  • If your child has high blood sugar (diabetes), talk with the doctor. Some of these products have sugar.

Skin patch (Duragesic):

  • The patch may have metal. Take off your child’s patch before an MRI.

What are some side effects that I need to call my child’s doctor about right away?

WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your child’s doctor or get medical help right away if your child has any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:

All products:

  • Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Noisy breathing.
  • Feeling confused.
  • Severe constipation or stomach pain. These may be signs of a severe bowel problem.
  • Chest pain.
  • Fast or slow heartbeat.
  • Seizures.
  • Low mood (depression).
  • Trouble controlling body movements.
  • Swelling in the arms or legs.
  • A severe and sometimes deadly problem called serotonin syndrome may happen if your child takes this drug with certain other drugs. Call your child’s doctor right away if your child has agitation; change in balance; confusion; hallucinations; fever; fast or abnormal heartbeat; flushing; muscle twitching or stiffness; seizures; shivering or shaking; sweating a lot; severe diarrhea, upset stomach, or throwing up; or severe headache.
  • Taking an opioid pain drug like this drug may lead to a rare but very bad adrenal gland problem. Call your child’s doctor right away if your child has very bad dizziness or passing out, very bad upset stomach or throwing up, or if your child feels less hungry, very tired, or very weak.
  • Long-term use of an opioid drug may lead to lower sex hormone levels. Call your child’s doctor if your child has a lowered interest in sex, fertility problems, no menstrual period (females), or change in sex ability (males).

Cheek tablet:

  • Mouth sores.
  • Swelling in the feet or hands.

What are some other side effects of this drug?

All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your child’s doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother your child or do not go away:

All products:

  • Feeling dizzy, sleepy, tired, or weak.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Constipation, diarrhea, stomach pain, upset stomach, throwing up, or feeling less hungry.
  • Headache.
  • Trouble sleeping.
  • Feeling cold.
  • Sweating a lot.
  • Irritation where this drug is used.

Cheek tablet:

  • Mouth tingling.

These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your child’s doctor. Call your child’s doctor for medical advice about side effects.

You may report side effects to your national health agency.

How is this drug best given?

Give this drug as ordered by your child’s doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.

Injection:

  • It is given as a shot.

Skin patch (Duragesic):

  • Misuse or abuse of this drug by placing it in the mouth or chewing, swallowing, injecting, or snorting it can lead to overdose and death.
  • Wash your hands before and after use.
  • Take off old patch first.
  • Put patch on clean, dry, healthy skin on your child’s upper back. The chest, upper leg, or upper arm may also be used in older children.
  • Put the patch in a new area each time you change the patch.
  • If there is hair where you are putting the patch, clip the hair as close to the skin as you can. Do not shave the hair.
  • Do not put on skin where you have just used creams, oils, lotions, or other skin products.
  • Do not put the patch on the belt line, bra line, or skin folds.
  • You do not need to put the patch on or near where your child is having pain for it to work.
  • Your child may bathe, shower, or swim for short periods after putting on the patch. Cover the patch with plastic wrap and tape to help keep it in place.
  • If the patch falls off, put a new one on.
  • If you have a problem with the patch not sticking, you may put first aid tape on the edges of the patch to hold it in place. If the patch still will not stick, you may put a see-through film dressing (like Bioclusive or Askina Derm) over the patch. Be sure you know what kind of see-through dressing you can use. Do not cover the patch with any other bandage or tape.
  • Do not use patches that are cut or do not look right.
  • Do not let the area where the patch was placed touch anyone else’s skin.
  • If you or anyone else touches the gel, wash the skin with lots of water. Do not use soap.
  • The patch has a lot of drug in it even after it is used. Carefully follow how to handle, store, and throw out this drug. Talk with the doctor.

Lozenge:

  • Place lozenge in your child’s mouth between the cheek and lower gum.
  • Have your child suck oral lozenge. Do not let your child chew, break, or crush it. Do not let your child swallow it whole.
  • After a dose, throw away the handle in the trash out of the reach of children and pets. If any drug is left on the handle, run it under water before throwing away to make sure the drug is dissolved.

Cheek tablet:

  • Use right after opening.
  • Place tablet in the mouth above a rear molar tooth between the upper cheek and gum and let dissolve. You may also place it under the tongue and let it dissolve.
  • Do not split or break tablet.
  • Do not let your child chew or crush.
  • Do not let your child eat or drink until tablet has dissolved all the way.
  • If the drug has not dissolved all the way after 30 minutes, your child can swallow the rest of it with water.
  • Change the side of mouth with each dose.

Nose spray:

  • For the nose only.
  • Prime pump before first use by spraying it 4 times into the supplied pouch. If this drug has not been used for 5 days, re-prime by spraying 1 time.
  • Close 1 nostril.
  • Put spray 1/2 inch into nostril. Press down on finger grip. A click will sound letting you know the dose was given.
  • This product has a dose counter to keep track of how many sprays are left. When the dose counter has an 8 in it, spray the rest of the drug into the pouch. Do not try to use more than 8 sprays from a bottle. Put the pouch and the empty bottle into the storage container and throw away.
  • After you have held the pouch, wash your hands right away.

Under the tongue (sublingual) spray:

  • Spray into the mouth under the tongue.

Under the tongue (sublingual) tablet:

  • Use right after opening.
  • Place under your child’s tongue and let dissolve all the way before swallowing. Do not let your child chew, suck, or swallow the tablet.
  • Do not let your child eat or drink until tablet has dissolved all the way.
  • Your child may wet the mouth with water, if needed, before taking.

What do I do if my child misses a dose?

Skin patch (Duragesic):

  • Put on a missed patch as soon as you think about it after taking off the old one.
  • Do not apply double dose or extra doses.

Injection:

  • Call your child’s doctor to find out what to do.

All other products:

  • If your child uses this drug on a regular basis, give a missed dose as soon as you think about it.
  • If it is close to the time for your child’s next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your child’s normal time.
  • Do not give 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.
  • Many times this drug is given on an as needed basis. Do not give to your child more often than told by the doctor.

How do I store and/or throw out this drug?

Injection:

  • If you need to store this drug at home, talk with your child’s doctor, nurse, or pharmacist about how to store it.

All other products:

  • Store at room temperature. Do not freeze.

Nose spray:

  • After each use, put the bottle back in the storage container that comes with this drug.
  • Protect from light.
  • After opening, throw away any part not used after 60 days.

Skin patch (Duragesic):

  • After you take off a skin patch, be sure to fold the sticky sides of the patch to each other. Throw away used patches where children and pets cannot get to them.

All products:

  • Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Follow the information that comes with this drug for throwing out doses that are not needed. Check with your pharmacist if you have questions about how to throw out this drug.

General drug facts

  • If your child’s symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your child’s doctor.
  • Do not share your child’s drug with others and do not give anyone else’s drug to your child.
  • Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. If you have any questions about this drug, please talk with your child’s doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.

Consumer Information Use and Disclaimer

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only the healthcare provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for a specific patient. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from the healthcare provider. You must talk with the healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

Last Reviewed Date

2019-11-15

Copyright

© 2019 Wolters Kluwer Clinical Drug Information, Inc. and its affiliates and/or licensors. All rights reserved.

Last Updated