FENTANYL PATCH: A Patient’s guide

FENTANYL PATCH: A Patient’s guide

20 Sep, 2021

What is a Fentanyl Patch?

This patch contains a medicine called Fentanyl. It belongs to a strong group of painkillers called opioid analgesics. It is commonly used to manage cancer pain. It works in the brain to change how your body feels and responds to pain.The formulation as a patch makes it more convenient to use and reduces the pill burden of patients.

This medication is NOT available over-the-counter and needs to be issued by your treating doctor.

Fentanyl Patch formulations

Fentanyl Patch is available in various strengths, ranging from 12mcg/h to 100mcg/h

Onset and duration of action:

The patch starts working after 6-8 hours of application, and usually works for a period of 72hours (3 days).

To apply the patch, follow these steps:

Points to note:

Common side effects

Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.

Common side-effects What can I do if I experience this?

Feeling sick (nausea) or being sick (vomiting)

Stick to simple meals - avoid rich or spicy foods. Your doctor may prescribe a medicine to prevent this nausea
Feeling dizzy, sleepy or drowsy Get up slowly when rising from a sitting or lying position. Excessive drowsiness may persist for the initial few days, following that it usually subsides and people are able to carry out with their lives just as before.Do not drive and do not use tools or machines. Do not drink alcohol
Constipation Eat a well-balanced fiber-rich diet and drink plenty of water each day.Try to take gentle exercise, such as walking. If this continues to be a problem, your doctor can prescribe a laxative.
Dry mouth Try chewing sugar-free gum or sucking sugar-free sweets
Shallow breathing Let your doctor know about this

Fear of addiction

The most common fear about strong painkillers, or opioids like morphine or fentanyl, is that you will get addicted to them.

Fentanyl patches may be habit forming, especially with prolonged use. Use the fentanyl patch exactly as directed. Do not apply more patches, apply the patches more often, or use the patches in a different way than prescribed by your doctor. Your doctor will carefully prescribe and monitor your opioid doses so that you’re treated for pain safely.

It is important to note that it’s rare for people who take prescribed cancer pain drugs to get addicted. Addiction happens because people get a high feeling from a drug and this makes them want to take it again. But when doctors prescribe painkillers properly for pain control, most people don't get a psychological high. So, they won't get addicted.

Your body can adapt to having narcotic group of painkillers, especially if you’re taking high doses for a long time. This is called physical dependence. It is not addiction. It means that if you stop taking the painkiller suddenly, you might develop withdrawal symptoms, such as cramps, sweating and diarrhoea. Doctors usually avoid this by gradually reducing your painkiller dose.

Do not be afraid to take these medicines. Controlling your pain is one of the goals for your care.

Further information is available inside the medication package. If you have any queries or concerns, please clarify with your treating doctor.

Categories >> Fentanyl Patch