• Fentanyl is a strong opioid narcotic that alleviates chronic moderate to severe pain. It is also used as a surgical anesthetic.


    Fentanyl is commonly absorbed through the skin through a transdermal patch. As a tablet, it is prescribed to cancer patients who experience breakthrough pain related to treatment. Fentanyl citrate is administered intravenously as an anesthetic.


    The fentanyl patch relieves pain by acting on parts of the brain. It is used to control chronic pain in patients who are accustomed to taking narcotic drugs. It is not intended to relieve pain that can be treated by fast-acting narcotics or non-narcotic medications.

    How to Use

    The fentanyl patch is applied to an area of clean, dry, hairless skin on the chest, back or upper arm. Only one patch should be used at a time, and it should be changed only as often as a doctor directs.

    Side Effects

    Fentanyl often causes nausea, vomiting, dizziness, dry mouth, confusion, weakness and itching at the application site. Serious side effects include abnormal breathing, rapid or pounding heartbeat, fainting, tremors, severe abdominal pain, change in urination, change in vision and seizures. These symptoms should be brought to a doctor's attention immediately.


    Fentanyl is an FDA Category C drug and should not be taken while pregnant unless a doctor deems it necessary.


    WebMD: Fentanyl TD Fentanyl

    DRCNet Drug Library: Frequently Asked Questions About the Opioids

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