Duragesic

Generic Name: Fentanyl

  • What is this medication and its most common uses?

    Duragesic is a medicine used to treat persistent, moderate to severe, long-term pain in people who are already taking other narcotic painkillers. Duragesic is started only after you have been taking other narcotic painkillers and your body has become used to them (you are "opioid-tolerant").

    Duragesic is a federally controlled substance because it has abuse potential.

  • What should I know when beginning and continuing on this medication?

    How does this medication work?

    Duragesic works in your central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) and affects the way your body responds to pain.

    What are the beneficial effects of this medication and when should I begin to have results?

    What: Duragesic has been shown to help relieve pain.

    When: Everyone responds differently to treatment, so try to be patient and follow your healthcare provider's directions. It is important that you use Duragesic exactly as your healthcare provider has prescribed.

    How do I know it is working?

    You may feel an improvement in your pain. This is a good indicator that the medicine is working. Your healthcare provider may also ask you questions from time to time to assess how well your symptoms are controlled with treatment.

  • What are the possible side effects of this medication?

    The following is not a full list of side effects. Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Only your healthcare provider can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this medication.

    Duragesic has abuse potential. This chance is higher if you are or have ever been addicted to or abused other medicines, street drugs, or alcohol, or if you have a history of mental health problems. If you have concerns, talk to your healthcare provider for more information about abuse and addiction. Do not share Duragesic with others and take steps to protect Duragesic from theft or misuse.

    Serious, life-threatening breathing problems may occur when using Duragesic, even when Duragesic has been used as recommended and not misused or abused. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you are breathing more slowly than usual; are experiencing shallow breathing (little chest movement while breathing); or if you feel faint, dizzy, confused, or have any other unusual symptoms.

    Keep Duragesic in a safe place. Accidental use, especially in children, may result in serious harm and may be life-threatening.

    Do not expose the application site and surrounding area to direct heat (such as heating pads, electric blankets, heat or tanning lamps, sunlight, hot baths, saunas, hot tubs, and heated water beds). Exposure to heat may increase the amount of medicine in your body and cause life-threatening effects.

    More common side effects may include: constipation; nausea; sleepiness; vomiting; tiredness; headache; dizziness; abdominal (stomach area) pain; or itching, redness, or rash where the Duragesic is applied.

    Less common side effects may include:

    Duragesic may lower your heart rate.

  • Who should not take this medication?

    Do not use Duragesic if you are allergic to it or any of its ingredients.

    Do not use Duragesic if you are not opioid-tolerant.

    Do not use Duragesic if you are having an asthma attack, or if you have severe asthma, trouble breathing, or other lung problems.

    Do not use Duragesic if you have bowel blockage or have narrowing of the stomach or intestines.

    Do not use Duragesic if you have pain that only happens now and then ("as needed"), or after surgery, if the pain is mild, or not expected to last for a long period.

  • What should I tell my healthcare provider before I take the first dose of this medication?

    Tell your healthcare provider about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Duragesic. Also, talk to your healthcare provider about your complete medical history, especially if you have a head injury; seizures; problems urinating; liver, kidney, or thyroid problems; pancreas or gallbladder problems; mental health problems; a history of drug or alcohol addiction or a family history of these problems; or if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What is the usual dosage?

    The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your healthcare provider uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your healthcare provider may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your healthcare provider's approval.

    Adults and children ≥2 years: Your healthcare provider will prescribe the appropriate dose for you based on your previous pain medication and the type and severity of your pain.

    If you have liver or kidney impairment, your healthcare provider may adjust your dose appropriately.

    It is important that you do not stop using this medication abruptly. If you need to change or stop using this medication, it is important that you only do this with the guidance of your healthcare provider.

  • How should I take this medication?

    Apply Duragesic exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Do not change your dose or stop applying Duragesic without first talking to your healthcare provider.

    Apply Duragesic to your chest, back, sides of your waist, or upper arm. Do not apply Duragesic to areas where there is hair or skin that is very oily, burned, broken out, cut, or irritated. Before applying Duragesic, make sure the area is cleaned with water only and completely dry.

    Press the patch down with the palm of your hand and hold it for at least 30 seconds to make sure that it sticks well to your skin.

    Change your Duragesic patch every 72 hours (3 days). Remove your old patch before applying a new one. Rotate your application site every time you change your patch.

    Talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist about what to do if your Duragesic patch does not stick properly and how to dispose of used and unused Duragesic patches.

    Please review the instructions that came with your prescription on how to use Duragesic properly.

  • What should I avoid while taking this medication?

    Do not drink alcohol or take prescription or over-the-counter medicines that contain alcohol while you are using Duragesic.

    Do not drive a car, operate machinery, or engage in other dangerous activities until you know how Duragesic affects you.

    Do not take hot baths or sunbathe; use hot tubs, saunas, heating pads, electric blankets, heated waterbeds, or tanning lamps; or engage in exercise that increases your body temperature while you are using Duragesic.

  • What are the possible food and drug interactions associated with this medication?

    If Duragesic is used with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. Duragesic may interact with numerous medications. Therefore, it is very important that you tell your healthcare provider about any other medications you are taking.

  • May I receive this medication if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

    The effects of Duragesic during pregnancy are unknown. Duragesic can be found in your breast milk if you use it while breastfeeding. Do not use Duragesic while you are breastfeeding. Tell your healthcare provider immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What should I do if I miss a dose of this medication?

    If you miss a dose of Duragesic, apply the patch as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next application, skip the one you missed and return to your regular schedule. Do not apply two patches at the same time unless instructed by your healthcare provider.

  • How should I store this medication?

    Store at room temperature. Do not store outside of the sealed protective pouch.

Meet the Pharmacists

I'm Shereen A. Gharbia, PharmD. Welcome to PDR Health!

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