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How Do Duragesic Patches Work?

Duragesic® (fentanyl patch) is a long-acting prescription opioid narcotic used to treat moderate-to-severe chronic (long-lasting) pain. It is used in people who do not find adequate pain relief with other pain medications. In addition, this medicated skin patch should only be used in people who are already tolerant to the effects of opioid pain medications. But how do Duragesic patches work to provide around-the-clock pain relief?
Duragesic skin patches contain fentanyl, a very strong opioid narcotic medication. These patches continuously release fentanyl in the same amount over a three-day period.
Fentanyl binds to a specific type of opioid receptor, called the opioid mu-receptor. Opioid mu-receptors are located throughout the body. While the main fentanyl effects occur in the central nervous system, fentanyl can produce effects anywhere opioid mu-receptors are found.
(For a more in-depth look at how these medicated patches work, click Duragesic. This article also discusses potential side effects, dosing tips, and general safety precautions to be aware of before starting treatment with this medication.)
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