If you have moderate-to-severe chronic pain, a healthcare provider may prescribe Duragesic® (fentanyl patch). This medication is a strong, long-acting opioid narcotic that is used in people who are already tolerant to the effects of opioid pain medications, and only when around-the-clock (continuous) pain relief is needed.
This pain reliever comes in the form of a skin patch. Each Duragesic patch is worn continuously for three days (72 hours). After three days, a new patch is applied to a different skin site.
You should avoid anything that heats the skin while using these patches, such as tanning beds, electric blankets, or sunbathing. Any increase in body temperature can cause too much of the medication to be released into the body, potentially leading to an overdose.
Although most people tolerate this medication well, side effects can occur and may include nausea, vomiting, and constipation. If reactions do occur, they tend to be mild and easy to treat.
(For more information on this skin patch, click Duragesic. This eMedTV feature article provides a complete overview of this pain medication, including how it works, general safety precautions, and its potential for abuse.)
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed January 4, 2010.
National Library of Medicine (US). Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMED). NLM Web site. Available at: http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?LACT. Accessed January 5, 2010.
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