Pain Home > What Is Fentanyl Used For?

Fentanyl is an ingredient found in many different prescription pain medications. It can be used for both long-term or breakthrough pain control. Because it is a strong opioid narcotic, you should not use fentanyl for short-term pain, including headaches or migraines. All fentanyl products are only approved for use in people who are taking other opioid pain medications and are tolerant to the effects of these drugs.

An Overview of Fentanyl Uses

Fentanyl (Abstral®, Actiq®, Duragesic®, Fentora®, Lazanda®, Onsolis®, Subsys®) is a prescription narcotic medication used to treat pain. Some fentanyl products are used around-the-clock to treat persistent, chronic pain, while others are used on an as-needed basis for breakthrough pain. This drug is also available in an injectable form that is approved for use as an anesthetic (a medication given to reduce or prevent pain during surgery or other medical procedures).

Using Fentanyl for Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is defined as pain that is expected to occur for a long period. It is often thought of as the opposite of acute pain (short-term pain). The fentanyl patch (Duragesic) is approved to treat persistent, moderate-to-severe chronic pain that has not been adequately controlled with other pain medications.
Fentanyl patches provide long-lasting pain relief over a three-day period. They are not intended for "as-needed" use, nor should they be used to treat acute pain. Instead, they should only be used to treat pain that requires continuous, around-the-clock treatment.
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Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
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