Fentanyl pill is a synthetic opioid that is used for the treatment of acute or chronic, severe pain. It’s 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine and is used only when other forms of treatment do not provide adequate analgesia. Fentanyl is indicated for use only in patients who are not responsive to the analgesic effects of other opioids, perhaps due to having developed a tolerance to other opioids.
Fentanyl delivered by oral or intravenous routes is used for the treatment of acute pain, whereas transdermal fentanyl patches are indicated for chronic pain that requires around-the-clock opioid treatment. However, fentanyl has high abuse potential, and transdermal patches may be misused for their euphoric effects. Fentanyl is a very potent opioid and can cause a fatal overdose.
Forms of Fentanyl
- Transdermal patch: a patch that you place on your skin
- Buccal tablet: a tablet that you dissolve between your cheek and gums
- Sublingual tablet: a tablet that you dissolve under your tongue
- Sublingual spray: a solution that you spray under your tongue
- Oral lozenge: a lozenge that you suck on until it dissolves
- Nasal spray: a solution that you spray into your nose
Fentanyl transdermal patch is available as the brand-name drug Duragesic. It’s also available as a generic drug. Generic drugs usually cost less than the brand-name version. In some cases, the brand-name drug and the generic version may be available in different forms and strengths.
A fentanyl transdermal patch may be used as part of combination therapy. This means you may need to use it with other medications.
Fentanyl can cause mild or serious side effects. This list doesn’t include all possible side effects.
For more information on the possible side effects of fentanyl, or tips on how to deal with a troubling side effect, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
Fentanyl can also cause other side effects.
Common side effects of the Fentanyl pill
The more common side effects that can occur with fentanyl include:
- redness and irritation of your skin where you apply the patch
- trouble sleeping
- increased sweating
- feeling cold
- loss of appetite
These effects may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
Serious side effects Fentanyl
Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 or go to your local emergency room if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.
Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:
- Serious breathing problems. Symptoms can include:
- very shallow breathing (little chest movement with breathing)
- fainting, dizziness, or confusion
- Severely low blood pressure. Symptoms can include:
- dizziness or lightheadedness, especially if you stand up too quickly
- Physical addiction, dependence, and withdrawal when stopping the drug. Symptoms can include:
- irritability or anxiousness
- trouble sleeping
- increase in your blood pressure
- fast breathing rate
- fast heart rate
- dilated pupils (the dark centers of your eyes)
- nausea, vomiting, and a loss of appetite