Before Using the Fentanyl Duragesic Patch

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In deciding to use a fentanyl Duragesic patch, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make.

Fentanyl Pain Patch Recall Update 7/23/12: Healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson (J&J) is now recalling more than 53,000 Duragesic pain patches due to problems where crystals of fentanyl may have formed in some of the patches. Fentanyl is a potent painkiller approximately 100 times more powerful than morphine, and its accumulation into crystals in the patch has the potential to lead to overdoses and other adverse events.

What’s the problem?

Before using a Duragesic fentanyl patch, the following should be considered:

  • Do not use the fentanyl patch if you have not already been taking other prescription narcotic pain medicines (eg, morphine, codeine) on a regular schedule. Do not use the patch for short-term pain, mild pain, pain that occurs after surgery, or pain that does not require medicine on a regular schedule.
  • Tell your doctor if you are also taking ritonavir, ketoconazole, itraconazole, troleandomycin, clarithromycin, nelfinavir, nefazodone, amiodarone, amprenavir, aprepitant, diltiazem, erythromycin, fluconazole, fosamprenavir, or verapamil. Tell your doctor if you eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice. The risk of fentanyl patch’s side effects may be increased.
  • Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
  • Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated pediatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of transdermal fentanyl in children 2 years of age and older. However, pediatric patients must be opioid-tolerant before using transdermal fentanyl. Safety and efficacy have not been established in children less than 2 years of age.
  • Do not apply the patch to skin that is broken or damaged. Do not cut the patch. Using a cut or damaged patch may lead to a rapid release of medicine and serious, even fatal, side effects. Do not expose the patch to direct sources of heat, such as heating pads, electric blankets, heat lamps, saunas, hot tubs, or heated waterbeds. Avoid sunbathing; long, hot baths; or other sources of heat to the body. Tell your doctor if you develop a fever. The heat may cause more medicine to be released into your skin and could cause serious, even fatal, side effects.
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