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Fentanyl Patch Transdermal System

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The fentanyl patch transdermal system is an adhesive patch that transmits medication through the skin over long periods of time. Fentanyl is more than 80 times more powerful than morphine, and should only be used as prescribed.

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?

Use of the fentanyl transdermal system is typically only indicated for those with chronic breakthrough cancer pain. The appropriate dose will depend on the severity of his or her condition, medical history, and known tolerances to pain medications. Fentanyl transdermal patches come in five different strengths and sizes – the stronger the dose, the larger the patch (as more of the skin’s surface needs to be covered to allow for more absorption of the drug).

Dose options include:

  • fentanyl transdermal system 12.5 mg h (micrograms/hr, also noted as µg/h or mcg hr)
  • fentanyl transdermal system 25 mg hr
  • fentanyl transdermal system 50 mcg hr
  • fentanyl transdermal system 75 mcg hr
  • fentanyl transdermal system 100 mg hr

Doctors will inform patients of the most appropriate sites for placing these patches. Typically, patch placement will need to be rotated to ensure the most effective absorption of the fentanyl drug.

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