fentanyl transdermal patch, Duragesic

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GENERIC NAME: fentanyl transdermal patch

BRAND NAME: Duragesic

DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Fentanyl is a potent synthetic (man-made) narcotic. A 100 µg dose of fentanyl is approximately equal to 10 mg of morphine. Fentanyl stimulates receptors on nerves in the brain to increase the threshold to pain (the amount of discomfort that a person must feel in order to be perceived as painful) and reduce the perception of pain (the perceived importance of the pain). Fentanyl is available in transdermal (for application to the skin), transmucosal (for application to mucus membranes) and parenteral (injectable) forms. When applied to the skin of the upper torso, fentanyl is well absorbed. The amount of fentanyl in the blood increases gradually after topical application, reaching a peak after 12-24 hours. Once this concentration is achieved, blood concentrations remain constant over the 72 hours that the patch is worn. After removal of the patch, blood concentrations of fentanyl decrease slowly due to ongoing absorption of fentanyl remaining on the skin. Fentanyl was originally approved by the FDA for injection in 1968 and was approved as a patch in August 1990.



PREPARATIONS: Transdermal systems labeled as delivering 12, 25, 50, 75, or 100 µg/hour.

STORAGE: Patches should be stored at room temperature below 30 C (86 F). Used patches should be folded in half with the sticky sides together, and then flushed down the toilet. Patients must avoid exposing the patches to excessive heat as this promotes the release of fentanyl from the patch and increases the absorption of fentanyl through the skin which can result in fatal overdose.

PRESCRIBED FOR: The fentanyl transdermal system is used for patients with severe chronic pain, for example, the pain of cancer.

DOSING: Patches should be applied to a flat, non-irritated area on the upper torso. The area of application should be clean and washed with water only prior to application. The patch should be applied immediately after removing it from the package and pressed firmly against the skin for 10 to 20 seconds especially around the edges. Patches should never be cut or otherwise damaged. Doses required to control pain vary widely among patients. The recommended dose is 25 to 100 mcg/hour patch applied every 72 hours. The manufacturer considers a fentanyl transdermal dose of 100 µg/hour approximately equivalent to 360 mg/day of oral morphine.

DRUG INTERACTIONS: The use of fentanyl with other central nervous system depressants can intensify the effects of fentanyl to depress breathing, depress the brain, sedate, and lower blood pressure. Other drugs that should be used cautiously with fentanyl include: antipsychotics, for example, Thorazine; Stelazine, haloperidol (Haldol), anxiolytics for example, diazepam (Valium), lorazepam (Ativan), and zolpidem (Ambien), certain antihistamines, for example, diphenhydramine (Benadryl), and hydroxyzine (Vistaril), barbiturates, for example, phenobarbital (Donnatal), tricyclic antidepressants, for example, amitriptyline (Elavil, Endep) and doxepin (Sinequan), ethanol, and skeletal muscle relaxants, for example, carisoprodol (Soma), cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril), and baclofen (Lioresal). The use of fentanyl with amiodarone (Cordarone) may result in slow heart rates. Cimetidine (Tagamet) when used with fentanyl can cause confusion, disorientation, or seizures due to impairment in breathing and brain function.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/27/2014

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