Adult Medication

Brand Names: US

Abstral; Actiq; Duragesic; Fentora; Lazanda; Onsolis; Subsys

Brand Names: Canada

Abstral; Apo-Fentanyl Matrix; Co-Fentanyl; Duragesic MAT; Fentanyl Citrate Injection, USP; Fentora; Mylan-Fentanyl Matrix Patch; PMS-Fentanyl MTX; RAN-Fentanyl Matrix Patch; Sandoz Fentanyl Patch; Teva-Fentanyl


All products:

  • This drug may cause very bad and sometimes deadly breathing problems. Call your doctor right away if you have slow, shallow, or trouble breathing.
  • This drug is only for people who have been taking drugs like this one and are used to the effects. Use of this drug by people who have not been taking drugs like this one or by children may cause very bad and sometimes deadly breathing problems. If this happens, get medical help right away.
  • Even one dose of this drug may be deadly if it is taken by accident, especially in children. If this drug is taken by accident, get medical help right away.
  • Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
  • This drug is not for mild pain or pain that only lasts a short time (like headaches, toothaches, or pain after surgery).
  • This drug may be abused. It is habit-forming.
  • Do not take more than what your doctor told you to take. Taking more than you are told may raise your chance of very bad side effects.
  • Tell your doctor if you or someone in your family has ever had drug abuse, alcohol abuse, or mental or mood problems.
  • You will be watched closely to make sure you do not misuse, abuse, or become addicted to this drug.
  • 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 your doctor and pharmacist to make sure that it is safe for you to use this drug with all of your other drugs.
  • 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:

  • 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.
  • The chance of very bad and sometimes deadly breathing problems may be greater when you first start this drug or anytime your dose is raised. Talk with your doctor.
  • Children and people who are not used to taking opioids who get this drug on the skin or in the mouth can have very bad and sometimes deadly breathing problems. 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 your doctor.
  • This drug is only for very bad, long-term pain that cannot be helped by other drugs.
  • 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 temperature may rise and cause too much drug to pass into your body. This can cause overdose and deadly breathing problems.
  • Avoid activities like heavy exercise that can raise your body temperature. Tell your doctor if you get a fever. Your doctor may need to change your dose.

All other products:

  • Misuse or abuse of this drug can lead to overdose and death.
  • Do not switch brands of this drug unless you talk with your doctor. It may lead to deadly overdose.
  • You may only get this drug through a special program. Talk with your doctor.

What is this drug used for?

Skin patch:

  • It is used to ease very bad pain.
  • It is only to be used when around-the-clock (continuous) care is needed for a long time. It is also only to be used when other pain drugs do not treat your pain well enough or you cannot take them.

All other products:

  • It is used to ease pain.


  • It is used during surgery.

What do I need to tell my doctor BEFORE I take this drug?

All products:

  • If you have an allergy to fentanyl or any other part of this drug.
  • If you are allergic to any drugs like this one, any other drugs, foods, or other substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had, like rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; or any other signs.
  • If you have any of these health problems: Very bad asthma, trouble breathing, recent head injury, growths or tumors in the brain, raised pressure in the brain, or very bad bowel or stomach problems like bowel block.
  • If you have taken certain drugs used for low mood (depression) like isocarboxazid, phenelzine, or tranylcypromine or drugs used for Parkinson’s disease like selegiline or rasagiline in the last 14 days. Taking this drug within 14 days of those drugs can cause very bad high blood pressure. Talk with your doctor.
  • If you are taking any of these drugs: Buprenorphine, butorphanol, nalbuphine, or pentazocine.

Skin patch:

  • If you have any of these health problems: Kidney disease or liver disease.
Under the tongue (sublingual) spray:
  • If have sores in your mouth, talk with your doctor.
This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with this drug.
Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take this drug with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.

What are some things I need to know or do while I take this drug?

All products:

  • Tell dentists, surgeons, and other doctors that you use this drug.
  • Avoid driving and doing other tasks or actions that call for you to be alert until you see how this drug affects you.
  • Do not stop taking this drug all of a sudden without calling your doctor. You may have a greater risk of signs of withdrawal. If you need to stop this drug, you will want to slowly stop it as ordered by your doctor.
  • Do not take this drug with other strong pain drugs or if you are using a pain patch without talking to your doctor first.
  • Talk with your doctor before you use other drugs and natural products that slow your actions.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol.
  • If you drink grapefruit juice or eat grapefruit often, talk with your doctor.
  • If you are 65 or older, use this drug with care. You could have more side effects.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan on getting pregnant. You will need to talk about the benefits and risks of using this drug while you are pregnant.
  • Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding. You will need to talk about any risks to your baby.

Skin patch:

  • The patch may have metal. Take off the patch before an MRI.

What are some side effects that I need to call my 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 doctor or get medical help right away if you have 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 or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Very bad dizziness or passing out.
  • Change in thinking clearly and with logic.
  • Very upset stomach or throwing up.
  • Very hard stools (constipation).
  • Feeling very tired or weak.
  • Trouble breathing, slow breathing, or shallow breathing.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Chest pain.
  • Fast or slow heartbeat.
  • Feeling very sleepy.

Cheek tablet:

  • Very bad mouth pain or irritation.
  • Mouth sores.
  • Swelling in the feet or hands.
  • Swelling in the arms or legs.

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 doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:

All products:

  • Dizziness.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Upset stomach or throwing up.
  • Hard stools (constipation).
  • Loose stools (diarrhea).
  • Headache.
  • Feeling sleepy.
  • Feeling tired or weak.
  • Feeling cold.
  • Not hungry.
  • Not able to sleep.
  • Sweating a lot.
  • Belly pain.

Skin patch:

  • Irritation where this drug is used.

Cheek tablet:

  • Mouth or tongue irritation.
  • Mouth tingling.
These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
You may report side effects to your national health agency.

How is this drug best taken?

Use this drug as ordered by your doctor. Read and follow the dosing on the label closely.


  • It is given as a shot.

Skin patch:

  • Wash your hands before and after use.
  • Clip hair at site before putting patch on. Do not shave.
  • Take off old patch first.
  • Put patch on clean, dry, healthy skin on the chest, back, upper leg, or upper arm.
  • Put the patch in a new area each time you change the patch.
  • 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 you are having pain for it to work.
  • You 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 the patch loosens, put tape ONLY on the edges of the patch to hold it in place.
  • Do not use patches that are cut or do not look right.
  • If you or anyone else touches the gel, wash the skin with lots of water. Do not use soap.


  • Place lozenge in your mouth between the cheek and lower gum.
  • Suck oral lozenge. Do not chew, break, or crush it. Do not swallow it whole.

Cheek film:

  • Use right after opening.
  • Wet the inside of your cheek with your tongue or water.
  • Place the film inside the mouth on a wet cheek. Hold for 5 seconds so it sticks to the cheek. Let it melt.
  • Do not chew or swallow.
  • You may drink liquids 5 minutes after using.
  • You may eat after film melts.

Cheek tablet:

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

Nose spray:

  • For the nose only.
  • Prime pump by spraying it 4 times into the supplied pouch. A green bar will show when it is ready to use.
  • 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.
Under the tongue (sublingual) spray:
  • Spray into the mouth under the tongue.
Under the tongue (sublingual) tablet:
  • Use right after opening.
  • Place under tongue and let melt all the way. Do not chew, suck or swallow tablet.
  • Do not eat or drink until tablet has melted all the way.
  • You may wet your mouth with water, if needed, before you take.

What do I do if I miss a dose?

Skin patch:

  • 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.


  • Call the doctor to find out what to do.

All other products:

  • Use a missed dose as soon as you think about it.
  • If it is close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your normal time.
  • Many times this drug is taken on an as needed basis. Do not take more often than told by the doctor.

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

All products:

  • Store at room temperature. Do not freeze.
  • Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Follow the info 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.

Skin patch:

  • After you take off a skin patch, be sure to fold the sticky sides of the patch to each other.


  • The shot will be given to you in a hospital or doctor’s office. You will not store it at home.

General drug facts

  • If your symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your doctor.
  • Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else’s drugs.
  • Keep a list of all your drugs (prescription, natural products, vitamins, OTC) with you. Give this list to your doctor.
  • Talk with the doctor before starting any new drug, including prescription or OTC, natural products, or vitamins.
  • Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. If you have any questions about this drug, please talk with your doctor, 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



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©2015 Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center - Generated on October 8, 2015