Pain Home > Duragesic

Duragesic is a medicated patch that is applied to the skin to relieve moderate-to-severe chronic pain. This prescription medication contains a very strong narcotic called fentanyl and is only used when other pain medications do not adequately provide pain relief. Fentanyl binds to specific receptors in the body, which causes many effects, including pain relief. Potential side effects include nausea, vomiting, and constipation.

What Is Duragesic?

Duragesic® (fentanyl patch) is a very strong, long-acting prescription opioid narcotic used to treat moderate-to-severe chronic (long-lasting) pain that is not adequately managed with other pain medications. It should only be 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.
Duragesic is a Schedule II controlled substance, which means there are strict laws and regulations controlling its use. Schedule II medications, such as Duragesic, are considered to have the highest potential for abuse.
(Click Duragesic Uses for more information, including possible off-label uses.)

Who Makes This Medication?

Duragesic is manufactured by ALZA Corporation for PriCara®, which is a division of Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

How Does Duragesic Work?

Duragesic is a skin patch that contains fentanyl, a very strong opioid narcotic medication. Duragesic 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.
Some of these effects, such as pain relief, are desirable. Other effects are undesirable and cause the side effects associated with Duragesic use. Effects of fentanyl may include but are not limited to:
  • Pain relief
  • Drowsiness
  • Changes in mood, including feelings of unease (dysphoria) or unusually pleasant feelings (euphoria)
  • Cough suppression
  • Slowed or shallow breathing
  • Slowing of the digestive tract
  • Physical dependence.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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