The Fentanyl patch, also called the Duragesic patch, is a prescription skin patch containing strong pain medication for treating moderate to severe chronic pain. Fentanyl, the pain medication inside the Fentanyl patch, is an opioid. Opioids are narcotics and include drugs like morphine, oxycondone (Oxycontin), and hydromorphone (Dilaudid).

Who Should Use The Fentanyl Patch?

Because the Fentanyl patch contains a strong narcotic, the patch should not be used by everyone. Patients should only use the Fentanyl patch if:

  • other less potent medicines have not been effective
  • pain needs to be controlled around the clock
  • the patient is already receiving opioid therapy
  • the patient is opioid tolerant (the patient has been taking at least 60 mg of morphine a day for a week or longer, or its equivalent)

How The Fentanyl Patch Works?

Once applied directly to the skin, the Fentanyl patch works by delivering fentanyl through the skin into the blood stream at a regulated rate for up to 72 hours. Because fentanyl is 100 times stronger than morphine, the Fentanyl patch can be invaluable to patients with extreme, constant pain. However, if not used carefully, the Fentanyl patch can be deadly.

To avoid a potentially fatal overdose, patients should never expose a Fentanyl patch to heat while wearing it. For example, the Fentanyl patch should not be exposed to a hot tub, heating pad, sauna, or heated water bed. In addition, patients should never cut the Fentanyl patch with scissors because the patch contains medication that will leak out all at once, rather than being delivered over a three day period.

As a precaution, Fentanyl patch patients should be careful to keep Fentanyl patches in a safe place and properly dispose of used patches. If swallowed, the Fentanyl patch can be fatal to children and pets. Moreover, fentanyl can be habit-forming, so the Fentanyl patch should be kept away from anyone who might have the potential to abuse it.

Fentanyl patch Deaths

A Fentanyl Patch adverse reaction or overdose can be fatal. In fact, there have been over 120 deaths by people using the Fentanyl Patch so far. Currently, the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) is investigating if the Fentanyl deaths are the result of a drug defect or due to improper use of this powerful narcotic.

If you or someone you know has suffered a serious injury while taking Fentanyl, please contact us to learn more about your legal rights and options.

Published November 17, 2011 by