Fentanyl Patches | Drug Digest

Fentanyl patches are used to relieve severe pain in people who are expected to need pain medication around the clock for a long time (chronic pain) and who cannot be treated with other medications.

Fentanyl is in a class of medications called narcotics. It works by changing the way the brain and nervous system respond to pain.

  • The fentanyl skin patch is only used for opioid-tolerant patients. A patient is opioid-tolerant if oral narcotics have already been used for severe pain.
  • The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients.
  • Up to a full day (24 hours) may pass before the first dose begins to work. The doctor may need to adjust the dose during the first few weeks before finding the amount that works best for the patient.
  • Another narcotic may also be while the dose of fentanyl is being adjusted, and to relieve any “breakthrough” pain that occurs later on.

Grapefruit and grapefruit juice may increase the effects of fentanyl skin patch by increasing the amount of the medicine in the body.

The patch is usually applied to the skin once every 72 hours. The patch should be changed at about the same time of day every time it is being changed.


Remember: Fentanyl patches are only for use on the skin.


Note: This is a brief guide for you to use while educating your patients about proper fentanyl use, disposal, side effects, drug interactions and warnings.


Resource Person: Lobna Adi (Clinical Pharmacist)

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