Dependence and tolerance for fentanyl can build quickly, so even an individual who has used Duragesic patches for a short time may experience a withdrawal upon terminating use of the medication. Even if patients use fentanyl as directed, they can still experience health complications resulting from fentanyl withdrawals.
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?
The fentanyl patch is approved for the treatment of chronic, severe pain in individuals who require strong, long-acting pain relief. Fentanyl is an opioid analgesic 80 times stronger than morphine, and is designed to deliver pain medication for up to three days per patch.
Proper application, disposal, and storage of fentanyl patches are crucial to reducing the risks of unwanted side effects. Fentanyl must be used exactly as directed by a physician, and should never be shared with another person.
Fentanyl Patch Withdrawal Symptoms
Because a patient can develop both a physical and psychological addiction to fentanyl, withdrawal symptoms can manifest themselves in a number of ways. Fentanyl withdrawal symptoms include:
- abdominal pain
- hot flashes
- loss of appetite
- muscle aches
- night sweats or general excessive sweating
- rapid breathing
- stuffy or runny nosetremors
Individuals who have used stronger doses of fentanyl for longer periods of time (as well as those who have developed a high tolerance for pain medication) will experience the most severe withdrawal symptoms.