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fentaNYL

Class: Opiate Agonists
VA Class: CN101
CAS Number: 437-38-7
Brands: Abstral, Actiq, Duragesic, Fentora, Lazanda, Sublimaze , Subsys

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com on Sep 13, 2021. Written by ASHP.

Warning

    Addiction, Abuse, and Misuse
  • Risk of addiction, abuse, and misuse, which can lead to overdosage and death. Assess each patient’s risk for addiction, abuse, and misuse before prescribing the drug; monitor all patients regularly for development of these behaviors or conditions. (See Dependence, Abuse, and Addiction under Cautions.)

    CYP3A4-mediated Interactions
  • Concomitant use with any CYP3A4 inhibitor may result in increased plasma fentanyl concentrations, which could increase or prolong adverse effects, potentially resulting in fatal respiratory depression. (See Interactions.) Discontinuance of a concomitantly used CYP3A4 inducer also may result in increased fentanyl concentrations. Monitor patients receiving any concomitant CYP3A4 inhibitor or inducer.

    Neonatal Opiate Withdrawal
  • Prolonged maternal use of opiates during pregnancy can result in neonatal opiate withdrawal syndrome, which may be life-threatening if not recognized and treated. Advise women who require such therapy during pregnancy of this risk and ensure appropriate treatment will be available. (See Pregnancy under Cautions.)

    Concomitant Use with Benzodiazepines or Other CNS Depressants
  • Concomitant use of opiate agonists with benzodiazepines or other CNS depressants, including alcohol, may result in profound sedation, respiratory depression, coma, and death.

  • Reserve concomitant use of opiate analgesics and benzodiazepines or other CNS depressants for patients in whom alternative treatment options are inadequate; use lowest effective dosages and shortest possible duration of concomitant therapy and monitor closely for respiratory depression and sedation. (See Specific Drugs and Foods under Interactions.)

    Fentanyl Transdermal Systems
  • Serious, life-threatening, or fatal respiratory depression may occur, even when fentanyl transdermal system (e.g., Duragesic) used as recommended. Monitor for respiratory depression, especially during initiation of therapy or following any dosage increase. (See Respiratory Depression under Cautions.)

  • Contraindicated for use as an as-needed (“prn”) analgesic, in non-opiate-tolerant patients, and for management of acute or postoperative pain because of risk of respiratory depression.

  • Accidental exposure of children and adults has resulted in fatal overdosage. Strict adherence to recommended handling and disposal instructions is essential to prevent accidental exposure. (See Accidental Exposure under Cautions.)

  • Exposure of application site and surrounding area to direct external heat sources may increase fentanyl absorption and has resulted in fatal overdosage. Presence of fever or increased core body temperature following strenuous exertion also may increase fentanyl exposure; such patients may require dosage adjustment to avoid overdosage and death. (See Patients with Fever or Exposure to High Temperatures under Cautions.)

    Transmucosal Immediate-release Fentanyl Preparations
  • Fatal respiratory depression has occurred because of improper patient selection (e.g., use in non-opiate-tolerant patients) and/or improper dosage. (See Respiratory Depression under Cautions.)

  • Contraindicated in the management of acute or postoperative pain (e.g., headache/migraine) and in non-opiate-tolerant patients because of risk of respiratory depression.

  • Must keep out of reach of children; deaths reported following accidental ingestion by children.

  • Substantial pharmacokinetic differences exist among the transmucosal immediate-release fentanyl formulations (buccal lozenges, buccal tablets, sublingual tablets, sublingual spray, nasal spray), and between these formulations and other fentanyl preparations; differences in rate and extent of absorption could result in fatal overdosage. Transmucosal immediate-release preparations must not be prescribed or dispensed interchangeably (e.g., on a mcg-per-mcg basis) with each other or with any other fentanyl preparation. (See Clinically Important Pharmacokinetic Differences Among Fentanyl Formulations under Cautions.)

  • Available only through a restricted distribution program because of risk for misuse, abuse, addiction, and overdosage. (See TIRF REMS Restricted Distribution Program under Dosage and Administration.)

Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS):

FDA approved a REMS for fentanyl to ensure that the benefits outweigh the risks. The REMS may apply to one or more preparations of fentanyl. See https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cder/rems/.

Introduction

Opiate agonist; a synthetic phenylpiperidine derivative.

Uses for fentaNYL

Pain (Acute)

Preoperatively, during surgery, and in the immediate postoperative period parenterally for its strong analgesic action.

Parenterally for pain that likely will be of short duration (e.g., that associated with diagnostic procedures, orthopedic manipulation) and can be controlled with a short-acting opiate agonist such as fentanyl.

IM to alleviate postoperative pain and discomfort. However, the IV route (including patient-controlled analgesia) is preferred for administration of opiate agonists after major surgery since repeated IM injections may cause pain and trauma.

Because of the risk of life-threatening respiratory depression, fentanyl transdermal systems (e.g., Duragesic) and transmucosal immediate-release preparations (buccal lozenges, buccal tablets, sublingual tablets, sublingual spray, nasal spray) are contraindicated in the management of acute or postoperative pain. (See Contraindications under Cautions.)

In symptomatic treatment of acute pain, reserve opiate analgesics for pain resulting from severe injuries, severe medical conditions, or surgical procedures, or when nonopiate alternatives for relieving pain and restoring function are expected to be ineffective or are contraindicated. Use smallest effective dosage for shortest possible duration since long-term opiate use often begins with treatment of acute pain. Optimize concomitant use of other appropriate therapies. (See Managing Opiate Therapy for Acute Pain under Dosage and Administration.)

Malignant (Cancer) Pain

Transdermally as fentanyl transdermal system (e.g., Duragesic) in opiate-tolerant patients for the management of pain that is severe enough to require long-term, daily, around-the-clock use of an opiate analgesic. Because of the risks of addiction, abuse, and misuse associated with opiates, even at recommended doses, and because of the greater risks of overdose and death with extended-release opiate formulations, reserve for use when alternative treatment options (e.g., nonopiate analgesics, immediate-release opiates) are inadequate or not tolerated.

Transmucosally as an immediate-release preparation (buccal lozenges, buccal tablets, sublingual tablets, sublingual spray, nasal spray) for the management of breakthrough pain only in patients who are already being treated with, and are tolerant of, opiates used around-the-clock for persistent cancer pain. Patient must continue receiving around-the-clock opiate therapy while receiving these transmucosal immediate-release preparations for relief of breakthrough pain.

Do not use fentanyl transdermal systems or transmucosal immediate-release preparations in patients who are not opiate tolerant.

Patients are considered opiate tolerant if they have been receiving around-the-clock opiate therapy consisting of at least 60 mg of oral morphine sulfate daily, 25 mcg of transdermal fentanyl per hour, 30 mg of oral oxycodone daily, 8 mg of oral hydromorphone hydrochloride daily, 25 mg of oral oxymorphone hydrochloride daily, or an equianalgesic dosage of another opiate daily for at least 1 week.

In the management of severe chronic pain associated with a terminal illness such as cancer, the principal goal of analgesic therapy is to make the patient relatively pain-free while maintaining as good a quality of life as possible.

Although consideration of the dependence potential of opiate agonists has often limited their effective use by many clinicians in terminally ill patients with severe chronic pain, such consideration is irrelevant in the context of terminal illness.

Other Chronic Pain

Transdermally as fentanyl transdermal system (e.g., Duragesic) in opiate-tolerant patients for the management of pain that is severe enough to require long-term, daily, around-the-clock use of an opiate analgesic. Because of the risks of addiction, abuse, and misuse associated with opiates, even at recommended doses, and because of the greater risks of overdose and death with extended-release opiate formulations, reserve for use when alternative treatment options (e.g., nonopiate analgesics, immediate-release opiates) are inadequate or not tolerated.

Patients are considered opiate tolerant if they have been receiving around-the-clock opiate therapy consisting of at least 60 mg of oral morphine sulfate daily, 25 mcg of transdermal fentanyl per hour, 30 mg of oral oxycodone daily, 8 mg of oral hydromorphone hydrochloride daily, 25 mg of oral oxymorphone hydrochloride daily, or an equianalgesic dosage of another opiate daily for at least 1 week.

Generally use opiates for management of chronic pain (i.e., pain lasting >3 months or past the time of normal tissue healing ) that is not associated with active cancer treatment, palliative care, or end-of-life care only if other appropriate nonpharmacologic and nonopiate pharmacologic strategies have been ineffective and expected benefits for both pain relief and functional improvement are anticipated to outweigh risks.

If used for chronic pain, opiate analgesics should be part of an integrated approach that also includes appropriate nonpharmacologic modalities (e.g., cognitive-behavioral therapy, relaxation techniques, biofeedback, functional restoration, exercise therapy, certain interventional procedures) and other appropriate pharmacologic therapies (e.g., nonopiate analgesics, analgesic adjuncts such as selected anticonvulsants and antidepressants for certain neuropathic pain conditions).

Available evidence insufficient to determine whether long-term opiate therapy for chronic pain results in sustained pain relief or improvements in function and quality of life or is superior to other pharmacologic or nonpharmacologic treatments. Use is associated with serious risks (e.g., opiate use disorder [OUD], overdose). (See Managing Opiate Therapy for Chronic Noncancer Pain under Dosage and Administration.)

Anesthesia

A supplement to general or regional anesthesia, including neuroleptanalgesia in which it often is used in combination with droperidol.

For induction and maintenance of anesthesia to provide preinduction sedation and analgesia, provide analgesia for additional vascular line placement, blunt hemodynamic and stress response to laryngoscopy and intubation, reduce requirements for other anesthetics, promote perioperative hemodynamic stability, and provide postoperative analgesia.

As the opiate component of balanced anesthesia or total IV anesthesia (balanced anesthesia in which the IV anesthetic completely replaces the inhalation anesthetic).

May be especially useful preoperatively before surgery of short duration or minor surgery in outpatients and in diagnostic procedures or treatments that require the patient to be awake or very lightly anesthetized.

When attenuation of the response to surgical stress is especially important, may be administered with oxygen and a skeletal muscle relaxant to provide anesthesia without the use of additional anesthetic agents.

Tachypnea and Delirium (Postoperative)

To prevent or relieve tachypnea and postoperative emergence delirium.

Conscious Sedation

Previously was available for restricted use as an intrabuccal (transmucosal) premedicant (Fentanyl Oralet) prior to anesthesia or for inducing conscious sedation prior to diagnostic or therapeutic procedures in a monitored anesthesia setting. However, this preparation no longer is commercially available for such use in the US and the currently available buccal preparations (Actiq lozenge, Fentora tablet, generic oral transmucosal fentanyl citrate lozenge) are labeled only for management of breakthrough pain in opiate-tolerant patients with chronic cancer pain.

fentaNYL Dosage and Administration

General

  • FDA approved REMS programs for most fentanyl preparations; specific requirements may vary. (See REMS.)

TIRF REMS Restricted Distribution Program

  • Because of the risk of accidental exposure, misuse, abuse, addiction, and overdosage, transmucosal immediate-release fentanyl (TIRF) preparations (buccal lozenges, buccal tablets, sublingual tablets, sublingual spray, nasal spray) are available only through a restricted distribution program under the TIRF REMS Access program. (See REMS.)

  • Outpatients who receive transmucosal immediate-release fentanyl preparations, clinicians who prescribe these preparations to outpatients, and pharmacies, wholesalers, and distributors that dispense or distribute these preparations must enroll in the program. Prescribers must document opiate tolerance and outpatient pharmacies must verify such documentation with each prescription, and inpatient pharmacies must develop policies and procedures to verify opiate tolerance in inpatients who require these preparations while hospitalized.

  • Additional information available at [Web] or 866-822-1483.

REMS: Opiate Analgesics Used in Outpatient Setting

  • FDA has approved a REMS for opiate analgesics, including fentanyl transdermal system, used in the outpatient setting and not covered by other REMS programs. (See REMS.)

  • The goals are to reduce the occurrence of addiction, unintentional overdosage, and death resulting from inappropriate prescribing, misuse, and abuse of opiate analgesics.

  • The program consists of educational programs for health professionals, a patient counseling guide, and a product-specific medication guide for patients.

  • Additional information available at [Web].

Managing Opiate Therapy for Acute Pain

  • Optimize concomitant use of other appropriate therapies.

  • When opiate analgesia required, use conventional (immediate-release) opiates in smallest effective dosage and for shortest possible duration, since long-term opiate use often begins with treatment of acute pain.

  • Consider prescribing naloxone concomitantly for patients who are at increased risk of opiate overdosage or who have household members, including children, or other close contacts who are at risk for accidental ingestion or overdosage. (See Respiratory Depression under Cautions.)

  • When sufficient for pain management, use lower-potency opiate analgesics given in conjunction with acetaminophen or an NSAIA on as-needed (“prn”) basis.

  • For acute pain not related to trauma or surgery, limit prescribed quantity to amount needed for expected duration of pain severe enough to require opiate analgesia (generally ≤3 days and rarely >7 days). Do not prescribe larger quantities for use in case pain continues longer than expected; instead, reevaluate patient if severe acute pain does not remit.

  • For moderate to severe postoperative pain, provide opiate analgesic as part of a multimodal regimen that also includes acetaminophen and/or NSAIAs and other pharmacologic (e.g., certain anticonvulsants, regional local anesthetic techniques) and nonpharmacologic therapy as appropriate.

  • Oral administration of conventional opiate analgesics generally preferred over IV administration in postoperative patients who can tolerate oral therapy.

  • Scheduled (around-the-clock) dosing frequently is required during immediate postoperative period or following major surgery. When repeated parenteral administration is required, IV patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) generally is recommended.

Managing Opiate Therapy for Chronic Noncancer Pain

  • Although specific recommendations may vary, common elements in clinical guideline recommendations include risk mitigation strategies, upper dosage thresholds, careful dosage titration, and consideration of risks associated with particular opiates and formulations, coexisting diseases, and concomitant drug therapy.

  • Prior to initiating therapy, thoroughly evaluate patient; assess risk factors for misuse, abuse, and addiction; establish treatment goals (including realistic goals for pain and function); and consider how therapy will be discontinued if benefits do not outweigh risks.

  • Regard initial opiate therapy for chronic noncancer pain as a therapeutic trial that will be continued only if there are clinically meaningful improvements in pain and function that outweigh treatment risks.

  • Prior to and periodically during therapy, discuss with patients known risks and realistic benefits and patient and clinician responsibilities for managing therapy.

  • Some experts recommend initiating opiate therapy for chronic noncancer pain with conventional (immediate-release) opiate analgesics prescribed at lowest effective dosage. Individualize opiate selection, initial dosage, and dosage titration based on patient’s health status, prior opiate use, attainment of therapeutic goals, and predicted or observed harms. Fentanyl transdermal system should be prescribed only by clinicians familiar with absorption characteristics and dosing of this formulation.

  • Evaluate benefits and harms within 1–4 weeks following initiation of therapy or dosage increase and reevaluate on ongoing basis (e.g., at least every 3 months ) throughout therapy. Document pain intensity and level of functioning and assess progress toward therapeutic goals, presence of adverse effects, and adherence to prescribed therapies. Anticipate and manage common adverse effects (e.g., constipation, nausea and vomiting, cognitive and psychomotor impairment). If benefits do not outweigh harms, optimize other therapies and taper opiate to lower dosage or taper and discontinue opiate.

  • When repeated dosage increases required, evaluate potential causes and reassess relative benefits and risks. Although evidence is limited, some experts state that opiate rotation may be considered in patients with intolerable adverse effects or inadequate benefit despite dosage increases.

  • Higher dosages require particular caution, including more frequent and intensive monitoring or referral to specialist. Greater benefits of high-dose opiates for chronic pain not established in controlled clinical studies; higher dosages associated with increased risks (motor vehicle accidents, overdosage, OUD).

  • CDC states that primary care clinicians should carefully reassess individual benefits and risks before prescribing dosages equivalent to ≥50 mg of morphine sulfate daily (approximately ≥21 mcg/hour of transdermal fentanyl) for chronic pain and should avoid dosages equivalent to ≥90 mg of morphine sulfate daily (approximately ≥37.5 mcg/hour of transdermal fentanyl) or carefully justify decision to prescribe such dosages. Other experts recommend consulting a pain management specialist before exceeding a dosage equivalent to 80–120 mg of morphine sulfate daily. Some states have established opiate dosage thresholds (e.g., maximum daily dosages that can be prescribed, dosage thresholds at which consultation with specialist is mandated or recommended) or have mandated risk-management strategies (e.g., review of state prescription drug monitoring program [PDMP] data prior to prescribing).

  • Recommended strategies for managing risks include written treatment agreements or plans (e.g., “contracts”), urine drug testing, review of state PDMP data, and risk assessment and monitoring tools.

  • Taper and discontinue opiate therapy if patient engages in serious or repeated aberrant drug-related behaviors or drug abuse or diversion. Offer or arrange treatment for patients with OUD.

  • Consider prescribing naloxone concomitantly for patients who are at increased risk of opiate overdosage or who have household members, including children, or other close contacts who are at risk for accidental ingestion or overdosage. (See Respiratory Depression under Cautions.)

Administration

Administer by IM or IV injection or by IV infusion.

Administer transmucosally as a buccal lozenge, buccal tablet, sublingual tablet, sublingual spray, or nasal spray.

Administer percutaneously by topical application of a transdermal system.

Preservative-free injections have been administered epidurally.

Intrabuccal Administration

Administer intrabuccally as buccal lozenge or buccal tablet.

Carefully instruct patients in the proper use and disposal of the buccal lozenges and buccal tablets. (See Storage under Stability and see Advice to Patients.)

If signs of excessive opiate effects develop before the lozenge or buccal tablet is consumed completely, remove the remaining portion from the patient’s mouth immediately and decrease future doses.

Buccal Lozenges

Cut lozenge package open with scissors just prior to administration.

Place the lozenge in the patient’s mouth (between the cheek and the lower gum) using the handle, and instruct the patient to suck, and not bite or chew, the lozenge; efficacy may be reduced if the lozenge is chewed and swallowed rather than being administered as directed. The lozenge occasionally may be moved from one side to the other using the handle.

Usually consumed over a period of 15 minutes; longer or shorter consumption times may result in reduced efficacy.

If unused portions cannot be disposed of immediately, store the partially used lozenge in a temporary storage bottle (supplied by the manufacturer) according to manufacturer's instructions and dispose of these units at least once a day. Unused portions may contain sufficient amounts of fentanyl to be fatal to a child.

Buccal Tablets

Bend and tear along the blister card perforations to separate a single blister unit. Just prior to administration, bend along the indicated line on a single blister unit and peel the backing to remove the buccal tablet; do not attempt to push the buccal tablet through the blister.

Do not split buccal tablets.

Place the buccal tablet in the patient’s mouth (above a rear molar, between the upper cheek and gum) and instruct the patient not to crush, suck, chew, or swallow the buccal tablet; efficacy may be reduced if the buccal tablet is crushed, sucked, chewed, or swallowed whole rather than being administered as directed. Alternate sides of the mouth with each intrabuccal dose.

Alternatively, once an effective dose has been established, the buccal tablets may be administered sublingually.

Leave the buccal tablet between the upper cheek and gum or under the tongue until it has disintegrated (generally 14–25 minutes). If the buccal tablet has not completely disintegrated after 30 minutes, the remnants may be swallowed with a glass of water. Disintegration time does not appear to affect early systemic exposure to the drug.

Sublingual Administration

Administer sublingually as sublingual tablets or sublingual spray.

Carefully instruct patients in the proper use and disposal of the sublingual tablets and sublingual spray. (See Storage under Stability and see Advice to Patients.)

Manufacturer states that buccal tablets also may be administered sublingually once an effective dose has been established. (See Intrabuccal Administration under Dosage and Administration.)

Sublingual Tablets

Immediately prior to administration, separate a single blister unit from the blister card and then peel the backing to gently remove the tablet; do not push the sublingual tablet through the blister.

Place the sublingual tablet on the floor of the mouth directly under the tongue as far back as possible. If >1 tablet is required, spread the tablets around the floor of the mouth under the tongue.

Allow the sublingual tablet(s) to dissolve completely in the sublingual cavity; tablets should not be chewed, sucked, or swallowed. Patients should not eat or drink until dissolution is complete.

Patients with a dry mouth may moisten the buccal mucosa with water before administering the sublingual tablets.

Sublingual Spray

Immediately prior to administration, open a blister package containing a single-use spray unit with scissors. Carefully spray the contents of the unit (100, 200, 400, 600, or 800 mcg of fentanyl) into the mouth underneath the tongue. Patient should hold the drug under the tongue for 30–60 seconds. Patient should not spit out the drug or rinse the mouth. The spray unit will remain locked after use.

Immediately after use, properly dispose of the used spray unit. (See Sublingual Spray under Stability.) Consumed units may contain sufficient amounts of fentanyl to be fatal to a child.

Consult patient instructions in the medication guide for additional information about administration.

Intranasal Administration

Administer by nasal inhalation as an aqueous solution using a metered-dose spray pump.

Carefully instruct patients in the proper use and disposal of the nasal spray pump. (See Storage under Stability and see Advice to Patients.)

Prior to initial use, prime the nasal spray pump by actuating the device 4 times into the carbon-lined disposal pouch provided by the manufacturer. If the inhaler has not been used for ≥5 days, prime the pump again by actuating it 1 time into the disposal pouch.

To administer a dose, insert the nozzle of the bottle about ½ inch (1 cm) into the nostril, pointing the nozzle toward the bridge of the nose and tilting the bottle slightly. Depress the finger grips firmly until a click is audible and the number in the counting window advances by one. The patient may not feel the mist on the nasal mucous membranes.

If the prescribed dose requires >1 spray into one nostril, alternate nostrils with each spray.

Patients should remain seated for at least 1 minute after administering the drug.

Consult the patient instructions in the medication guide for additional information about administration.

IV Administration

For solution and drug compatibility information, see Compatibility under Stability.

Opiate antagonist and facilities for administration of oxygen and controlled respiration should be available during and immediately following IV administration of the drug.

Administer by direct IV injection, IV infusion, or IV via a controlled-delivery device for patient-controlled analgesia (PCA).

Dilution

May give undiluted as direct IV injection.

May dilute in a compatible IV solution for infusion. (See Solution Compatibility under Stability.)

Rate of Administration

Direct IV injection: Usually, slowly over several (e.g., 1–2) minutes. Occasionally, over <1 minute (e.g., for high-dose opiate anesthesia).

IV injection for PCA: Self-administered intermittently as needed (“prn”) via controlled-delivery device, with usual lockout intervals (minimum time between self-administered doses programmed into device) of 6–12 minutes.

IV infusion: Usually, slowly but occasionally rapidly (e.g., for high-dose opiate anesthesia).

IV infusion, maintenance doses in anesthesia: Usually, 2–10 mcg/kg per hour.

Risk of muscular rigidity (particularly of the respiratory muscles) is related to the dose and speed of IV administration; if administered IV rapidly (particularly large doses) or even slowly by IV infusion for anesthesia, administration of a neuromuscular blocking agent prior to or simultaneously with anesthetic fentanyl therapy can reduce the risk.

IM Injection

May administer by IM injection. However, IM administration of opiate analgesics is discouraged; IM injections can cause pain and are associated with unreliable absorption, resulting in inconsistent analgesia.

Transdermal Administration

Take steps to ensure that fentanyl transdermal systems (e.g., Duragesic) are not administered inadvertently to opiate-naive patients or for acute pain management because of risk of potentially fatal overdosage. (See Contraindications under Cautions.)

Carefully instruct patients in the proper use and disposal of fentanyl transdermal system. (See Storage under Stability and see Advice to Patients.)

To expose the adhesive surface of the system, peel off and discard the protective-liner covering just prior to application.

Apply the transdermal system to a dry, intact, nonirritated, nonirradiated flat surface on the chest, back, flank, or upper arm by firmly pressing the system with the palm of the hand for 30 seconds with the adhesive side touching the skin; ensure that contact is complete, particularly around the edges. In young children or individuals with cognitive impairment, place transdermal system on the upper back to reduce the risk that the system could be removed and placed in the mouth.

Clip, not shave, hair at the application site prior to application.

Use only clear water if the site must be cleaned before transdermal application; do not use soaps, oils, lotions, alcohol, or any other agents that could irritate the skin or alter its characteristics.

Do not use transdermal system if the seal of the package is broken or if the system is altered in any way (e.g., cut, damaged).

Avoid contact with unwashed or unclothed application sites; such contact can result in secondary exposure to the drug.

Patients or caregivers who apply the transdermal system should wash their hands with soap and water immediately after application.

Each transdermal system may be worn continuously for 72 hours; apply subsequent systems to a different site after removal of the previous system.

If a system should inadvertently come off during the period of use, apply a new system to a different skin site and leave in place for 72 hours. The edges of the system may be taped in place with first-aid tape if the patient experiences difficulty with system adhesion. If adhesion problems persist, a transparent adhesive film dressing (e.g., Bioclusive, Tegaderm) may be applied over the system.

Patients may bathe, shower, or swim while wearing transdermal systems, but should not engage in strenuous exercise that increases core body temperature while wearing the system or expose the application site and surrounding area to direct external heat sources. (See Patients with Fever or Exposure to High Temperatures under Cautions.)

Immediately following removal, fold the used system so that the adhesive side adheres to itself and then flush system down the toilet. Used systems may contain sufficient fentanyl to be fatal to children, pets, or other adults for whom the drug was not prescribed.

Epidural Administration

Preservative-free injections have been injected or infused epidurally; specialized techniques are required for administration by this route, and such administration should be performed only by qualified individuals familiar with the techniques of administration, dosages, and special patient management problems.

Dosage

Available as fentanyl and fentanyl citrate; dosage expressed in terms of fentanyl.

Use lowest effective dosage and shortest duration of therapy consistent with treatment goals of the patient.

Reduced dosage is indicated initially in poor-risk patients and geriatric patients. (See Geriatric Patients under Dosage and Administration.)

When used concomitantly with other CNS depressants, use lowest effective dosages and shortest possible duration of concomitant therapy. (See Specific Drugs under Interactions.)

Individualize dosage of fentanyl according to the clinical status of the patient, desired therapeutic effect, and age and weight. The most important factor in determining the appropriate dose of transdermal fentanyl is the degree of existing opiate tolerance.

Pediatric Patients

Anesthesia and Analgesia
IV or IM

Neonates and infants, anesthesia and analgesia: 1–4 mcg/kg per dose IV, repeated every 2–4 hours as needed, or continuous IV infusion of 0.5–5 mcg/kg per hour.

Children 2–12 years of age, anesthesia induction and maintenance phase: Usually, 1.7–3.3 mcg/kg IV or IM.

Children 2–12 years of age, analgesia: Usually, 1–3 mcg/kg IV or IM, repeated every 30–60 minutes as needed, or continuous IV infusion of 1–5 mcg/kg per hour.

Children >12 years of age, analgesia: 0.5–1 mcg/kg IV or IM, repeated every 30–60 minutes as needed.

PCA (usually IV) via controlled-delivery device: Loading doses of 0.05–2 mcg/kg, preferably titrated by clinician or nurse at bedside, up to 0.5–4 mcg/kg total.

PCA (usually IV) via controlled-delivery device: Maintenance doses (administered intermittently by patient) of 0.25–0.5 mcg/kg, usually no more frequently than every 6–12 minutes as a device-programmed lockout period.

Chronic Malignant (Cancer) Pain and Other Chronic Pain
Initial Dose Selection in Patients Being Switched to Fentanyl Transdermal System
Transdermal (e.g., Duragesic)

Use transdermal system only in children ≥2 years of age who are opiate tolerant. (See Uses.) Risk of fatal respiratory depression when administered to patients not already opiate tolerant. (See Fentanyl Transdermal Systems in Boxed Warning.)

Individualize initial dosage, taking into account the patient's prior analgesic use and risk factors for addiction, abuse, and misuse. Fatal overdosage possible with the first transdermal dose if the dosage is overestimated.

Discontinue all other around-the-clock opiate analgesics when therapy with fentanyl transdermal system is initiated.

The manufacturers provide specific dosage recommendations for switching opiate-tolerant children ≥2 years of age from certain oral or parenteral opiates to fentanyl transdermal system (see Table 8 and Table 9).

Alternatively, to switch children ≥2 years of age who currently are receiving other opiate therapy or dosages that are not listed in Table 8 or Table 9 to fentanyl transdermal system, calculate the opiate analgesic requirements during the previous 24 hours. Then calculate an equianalgesic 24-hour dosage of oral morphine sulfate using a reliable source. Finally, calculate the equivalent dosage of fentanyl transdermal system using Table 10.

The manufacturers consider the initial dosages of transdermal fentanyl in Tables 8, 9, and 10 to be conservative estimates. Do not use the dosage conversion guidelines in these tables to switch patients from fentanyl transdermal system to oral or parenteral opiates, since dosage of oral or parenteral opiates may be overestimated.

For transdermal dosages >100 mcg/hour, apply multiple systems at different sites simultaneously.

Dosing intervals <72 hours have not been evaluated in children and adolescents and cannot be recommended in this population.

Because of substantial interpatient variability in relative potency of opiate analgesics and analgesic formulations, it is preferable to underestimate the patient's 24-hour opiate requirements and provide “rescue” therapy with an immediate-release opiate analgesic than to overestimate the requirements and manage an adverse reaction.

If overdosage occurs, monitor and treat patient for at least 72–96 hours because of long elimination half-life of this formulation (20–27 hours).

If analgesia is inadequate after initial application, dosage may be titrated upward after 3 days.

Give supplemental doses of a short-acting opiate as needed during the initial application period and subsequently thereafter as necessary to relieve breakthrough pain.

Dosage Adjustment to Achieve Adequate Analgesia
Transdermal (e.g., Duragesic)

If analgesia is inadequate after initial application of a fentanyl transdermal system, dosage may be increased after 3 days based on the daily dose of supplemental opiates during the second or third day after initial application.

Because subsequent equilibrium with an increased dosage may require up to 6 days to achieve, make further increases in dosage based on supplemental opiate requirements no more frequently than every 6 days (i.e., after two 72-hour application periods with a given dosage).

To convert supplemental opiate requirements to transdermal dosage, use a ratio of 45 mg of oral morphine sulfate (during a 24-hour period) to each 12.5-mcg/hour delivery from the fentanyl transdermal system.

If unacceptable adverse effects are observed, decrease subsequent dosage.

Frequent communication among the prescriber, other members of the healthcare team, the patient, and the patient's caregiver or family is important during periods of changing analgesic requirements, including the initial dosage titration period.

Maintenance Therapy
Transdermal (e.g., Duragesic)

Continually assess adequacy of pain control and reevaluate for adverse effects, as well as for development of addiction, abuse, or misuse.

During long-term therapy, continually reevaluate need for continued opiate therapy.

Discontinuance of Transdermal Fentanyl Therapy
Transdermal (e.g., Duragesic)

To switch to another opiate, remove the fentanyl transdermal system and titrate the dosage of the other opiate according to patient response.

Substantial amounts of fentanyl continue to be absorbed from the skin for ≥24 hours after removal of the transdermal system. It generally takes 20–27 hours for serum fentanyl concentrations to decline by 50% following removal of the system.

Symptoms of withdrawal (e.g., nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, anxiety, shivering) may occur in some patients after switching to another opiate agonist or following discontinuance of the fentanyl transdermal system.

When transdermal fentanyl is discontinued and another opiate analgesic is not initiated, withdraw fentanyl gradually (e.g., reduce dosage by 50% every 6 days) to avoid precipitation of withdrawal symptoms. Dosage level at which transdermal fentanyl may be discontinued without producing withdrawal symptoms is not known.

Adults

Analgesia
IM or IV

Preoperatively: 50–100 mcg IM 30–60 minutes prior to surgery.

Postoperatively: 50–100 mcg IM every 1–2 hours in the recovery room as needed.

Alternatively for analgesia: 0.5–1 mcg/kg IM or IV, repeated every 30–60 minutes as needed.

PCA (usually IV) via controlled-delivery device: Loading doses of 25–50 mcg every 5 minutes, preferably titrated by clinician or nurse at bedside, up to 50–300 mcg total.

PCA (usually IV) via controlled-delivery device: Maintenance doses (self-administered intermittently by patient) of 10–30 mcg, usually no more frequently than every 6–12 minutes as a device-programmed lockout period.

Anesthesia
Adjunct to General Anesthesia
IV or IM

May be given in low-dose, moderate-dose, or high-dose regimens.

Low-dose, used for minor but painful surgical procedures: Usually, 2 mcg/kg IV; additional doses usually not necessary.

Moderate-dose, used in more major surgical procedures: Initially, 2–20 mcg/kg IV; additional doses of 25–100 mcg IV or IM as necessary.

High-dose, used during open heart surgery or certain complicated neurosurgical or orthopedic procedures where surgery is more prolonged: Initially, 20–50 mcg/kg IV; additional doses ranging from 25 mcg to one-half the initial dose IV as necessary.

IV Infusion

Initial loading dose: Usually, 4–20 mcg/kg titrated to effect over several minutes.

Maintenance dose: Usually, 2–10 mcg/kg per hour; additional supplemental IV doses of 25–100 mcg as needed.

Maintenance dose: Alternatively after usual loading dose, variable-rate infusion titrated to maintain targeted plasma and effect site fentanyl concentrations:

Table 1. Approximate Plasma Fentanyl Concentrations Required in Balanced Anesthesia with Nitrous Oxidef

Noxious and surgical stimulus level (1–10 scale)

1-2

3–5

6–8

9–10

Plasma fentanyl (ng/mL)

1–2

3–6

4–10

6–20

Supplemental IV doses also can be used as needed with the alternative maintenance dose.

General Anesthesia without Additional Anesthetic Agent
IV

Attenuation of the response to surgical stress: 50–100 mcg/kg in conjunction with oxygen and a skeletal muscle relaxant; doses up to 150 mcg/kg may be required.

Adjunct to Regional Anesthesia
IV or IM

50–100 mcg IM or by slow IV injection over 1–2 minutes when additional analgesia is required.

Postoperative Pain, Restlessness, Tachypnea, and Emergence Delirium
IM

Postoperatively: 50–100 mcg every 1–2 hours in the recovery room as needed.

Breakthrough Malignant (Cancer) Pain in Opiate-tolerant Patients
Intrabuccal (Lozenges [Actiq, generic oral transmucosal fentanyl citrate lozenges])

Because of differences in pharmacokinetic properties, do not switch patients on a mcg-per-mcg basis from any other fentanyl preparation, including fentanyl citrate buccal tablets (Fentora), to the buccal lozenges; buccal lozenges are not equivalent to other fentanyl preparations and are not a generic version of the buccal tablets. (See Clinically Important Pharmacokinetic Differences Among Fentanyl Formulations under Cautions.)

Use only in patients who are opiate tolerant. (See Malignant [Cancer] Pain under Uses.) Patients must continue receiving around-the-clock opiate analgesic therapy while receiving the buccal lozenges for breakthrough pain.

Initially, 200 mcg for breakthrough episode in all patients.

Prescribe 6 lozenges initially; use all 6 lozenges for various breakthrough episodes before increasing the dose. To reduce risk of overdosage, patient should have only one strength of lozenges available for use at any one time.

Instruct patients to record use of buccal lozenges over several episodes of breakthrough pain and to discuss their experience with their clinician to decide whether dosage adjustment is warranted.

May be necessary to use >1 lozenge per episode of breakthrough cancer pain until the appropriate dose is attained; an additional lozenge may be administered 15 minutes after the previous lozenge has been consumed (i.e., 30 minutes after the first lozenge initially was placed in the mouth).

Maximum of 2 lozenges per breakthrough pain episode may be given, if necessary, during dosage titration phase.

Increase dose to the next higher available strength after several consecutive breakthrough pain episodes require the use of >1 lozenge per episode; again, prescribe only 6 lozenges of the new strength.

During titration phase, evaluate each new dose over several breakthrough pain episodes to determine efficacy and tolerability.

After treating one episode of breakthrough pain, patient must wait ≥4 hours before treating a subsequent episode of breakthrough pain with the buccal lozenges.

Once titrated to an adequate dose (average breakthrough pain episode is treated with a single lozenge), the patient should use a maximum of 4 lozenges daily.

Once an appropriate dose has been achieved, patients generally should use only 1 lozenge of the appropriate strength per episode of breakthrough pain. On occasion during maintenance therapy, when breakthrough pain is not relieved within 15 minutes after a single lozenge was consumed (i.e., 30 minutes after the first lozenge initially was placed in the mouth), the patient may take only 1 additional dose of the same strength during that episode of breakthrough pain.

During maintenance therapy, generally increase dosage only if several consecutive episodes require >1 lozenge of the current dose for pain relief.

If patient experiences >4 breakthrough pain episodes daily, reevaluate dosage of opiates used around the clock for chronic cancer pain.

When opiate therapy is discontinued, gradually taper the opiate dosage to avoid manifestations associated with abrupt withdrawal. Dosage level at which the buccal lozenges may be discontinued without producing manifestations of opiate withdrawal is not known.

Intrabuccal (Buccal tablets [Fentora])

Because of differences in pharmacokinetic properties, do not switch on a mcg-per-mcg basis from any other fentanyl preparation to the buccal tablets; buccal tablets are not equivalent to other fentanyl preparations. (See Clinically Important Pharmacokinetic Differences Among Fentanyl Formulations under Cautions.)

Use only in patients who are opiate tolerant. (See Malignant [Cancer] Pain under Uses.) Patients must continue receiving around-the-clock opiate analgesic therapy while receiving the buccal tablets for breakthrough pain.

Initially, 100 mcg for breakthrough episode in all patients except those being switched from fentanyl citrate buccal lozenges.

In patients being switched from the buccal lozenges to the buccal tablets, base the initial buccal tablet dose on the current buccal lozenge dose (see Table 2). Instruct patients to discontinue use of the buccal lozenges and to dispose of any remaining lozenges.

Manufacturer states that these doses should be considered starting doses for the buccal tablets and are not intended to represent equianalgesic doses.

Table 2: Initial Dosage Recommendations for Adults Being Transferred from Fentanyl Citrate Buccal Lozenges to Fentanyl Citrate Buccal Tablets for Management of Breakthrough Cancer Pain230

Current Fentanyl Dose Administered as Buccal Lozenge

Initial Fentanyl Dose Administered as Buccal Tablet

200 mcg

100 mcg (as one 100-mcg tablet)

400 mcg

100 mcg (as one 100-mcg tablet)

600 mcg

200 mcg (as one 200-mcg tablet)

800 mcg

200 mcg (as one 200-mcg tablet)

1200 mcg

400 mcg (as two 200-mcg tablets)

1600 mcg

400 mcg (as two 200-mcg tablets)

If breakthrough pain is not relieved within 30 minutes after the initial buccal tablet dose, the patient may take only 1 additional dose of the same strength during that episode of breakthrough pain. After treating one episode of breakthrough pain with the buccal tablets, the patient must wait ≥4 hours before treating a subsequent episode of breakthrough pain with the buccal tablets.

Titrate dosage with close monitoring to a level that provides adequate analgesia with acceptable adverse effects.

Instruct patients to record use of buccal tablets over several episodes of breakthrough pain and to discuss their experience with their clinician to decide whether dosage adjustment is warranted.

During dosage titration, 1 dose may include administration of 1–4 tablets of the same strength. Administer no more than 4 tablets simultaneously. Manufacturer states that the only time patients should take >1 tablet as a single dose (e.g., two 100-mcg tablets for a single 200-mcg dose) is during dosage titration.

Patients receiving an initial dose of 100 mcg who require titration to a higher dosage level may increase buccal tablet dosage to 200 mcg (two 100-mcg tablets, with one tablet placed on each side of the mouth in the buccal cavity) with the next episode of breakthrough pain. Those who require a further increase in dosage may place two 100-mcg tablets on each side of the mouth in the buccal cavity (total of four 100-mcg tablets). If doses >400 mcg (i.e., doses of 600 or 800 mcg) are required, titrate dosage using multiples of 200-mcg tablets.

In patients who initiated buccal tablet therapy with the 200-mcg tablets (i.e., those who were transferred from fentanyl citrate buccal lozenge dosages of ≥600 mcg [see Table 2]), titrate buccal tablet dosage using multiples of 200-mcg tablets.

During dosage titration period, if breakthrough pain is not relieved within 30 minutes after the initial dose of buccal tablets, the patient may take only 1 additional dose of the same strength during that episode of breakthrough pain. Manufacturer states that no more than 2 doses may be given during a single episode of breakthrough pain, even if the patient continues to experience pain after the second dose is administered.

To reduce the risk of overdosage during titration, strongly advise patients to use or discard all the buccal tablets of one strength prior to obtaining tablets of a different strength.

During titration phase, evaluate each new dose over several breakthrough pain episodes to determine efficacy and tolerability.

Once titrated to an adequate dose, breakthrough pain episodes generally should be treated effectively with 1 buccal tablet. On occasion during maintenance therapy, when a breakthrough pain episode is not relieved within 30 minutes after the first intrabuccal dose, the patient may take only 1 additional dose of the same strength during that episode of breakthrough pain.

Some patients may require adjustment of the intrabuccal fentanyl dosage to maintain effective analgesia for breakthrough pain episodes; however, dosage generally should be increased only if several consecutive episodes require administration of >1 intrabuccal dose for pain relief.

After treating one episode of breakthrough pain with the buccal tablets, patient must wait ≥4 hours before treating a subsequent episode of breakthrough pain with the buccal tablets.

If patient experiences >4 breakthrough pain episodes daily, reevaluate dosage of opiates used around the clock for chronic cancer pain.

Presence of grade 1 mucositis does not appear to substantially alter absorption or adverse effects of the buccal tablets.

When opiate therapy is discontinued, gradually taper the opiate dosage to avoid manifestations associated with abrupt withdrawal. Dosage level at which the buccal tablets may be discontinued without producing manifestations of opiate withdrawal is not known.

Sublingual (Sublingual tablets [Abstral])

Because of differences in pharmacokinetic properties, do not switch patients on a mcg-per-mcg basis from any other fentanyl preparation to the sublingual tablets; sublingual tablets are not equivalent to other fentanyl preparations and are not a generic version of any other fentanyl preparation. (See Clinically Important Pharmacokinetic Differences Among Fentanyl Formulations under Cautions.)

Use only in patients who are opiate tolerant. (See Malignant [Cancer] Pain under Uses.) Patients must continue receiving around-the-clock opiate analgesic therapy while receiving the sublingual tablets for breakthrough pain.

Initially, 100 mcg for breakthrough episode in all patients except those being switched from fentanyl citrate buccal lozenges. If adequate analgesia is not achieved with the first 100-mcg dose, titrate dosage in a stepwise manner (see Table 3) with close monitoring to a level that provides adequate analgesia and acceptable adverse effects.

Table 3. Recommended Stepwise Dosage Titration of Fentanyl Citrate Sublingual Tablets245

Fentanyl Dose

200 mcg (as two 100-mcg tablets or one 200-mcg tablet)

300 mcg (as three 100-mcg tablets or one 300-mcg tablet)

400 mcg (as four 100-mcg tablets, two 200-mcg tablets, or one 400-mcg tablet)

600 mcg (as three 200-mcg tablets or one 600-mcg tablet)

800 mcg (as four 200-mcg tablets or one 800-mcg tablet)

In patients being switched from the buccal lozenges to the sublingual tablets, base the initial sublingual tablet dose on the current buccal lozenge dose (see Table 4). Instruct patient to discontinue use of the buccal lozenges and dispose of any remaining lozenges. If adequate analgesia is not achieved with the initial dose of sublingual tablets, initiate dosage titration with close monitoring using a sublingual tablet strength of 100 mcg in patients receiving a buccal lozenge dose of 200 mcg, a sublingual tablet strength of 200 mcg in those receiving a buccal lozenge dose of 400, 600, 800, or 1200 mcg, or a sublingual tablet strength of 400 mcg in those receiving a buccal lozenge dose of 1600 mcg; then proceed with titration in multiples of the initial sublingual tablet strength.

Table 4. Recommended Initial Dose of Fentanyl Citrate Sublingual Tablets for Patients Switching from Fentanyl Citrate Buccal Lozenges245

Current Fentanyl Dose as Buccal Lozenges

Initial Fentanyl Dose as Sublingual Tablets

200 mcg

100 mcg

400 mcg

200 mcg

600 mcg

200 mcg

800 mcg

200 mcg

1200 mcg

200 mcg

1600 mcg

400 mcg

During dosage titration, patients can use multiples of 100- and/or 200-mcg tablets for any single dose; however, no more than 4 tablets should be administered at one time.

During dosage titration, if breakthrough pain is not relieved within 30 minutes following the initial sublingual tablet dose, the patient may take only 1 additional dose of the same strength during that episode of breakthrough pain. No more than 2 doses of the sublingual tablets may be given during a single episode of breakthrough pain. Patients must wait ≥2 hours before treating a subsequent episode of breakthrough pain with the sublingual tablets. Patients may use a rescue analgesic as directed by their clinician if the sublingual tablets do not provide adequate pain relief.

Safety and efficacy of sublingual tablet doses >800 mcg not established in clinical trials.

Once an appropriate dose has been achieved, patients should use only 1 sublingual tablet of the appropriate strength per episode of breakthrough pain. On occasion during maintenance therapy, when a breakthrough pain episode is not relieved within 30 minutes after the first sublingual dose, patient may take only 1 additional dose during that episode of breakthrough pain. After treating one episode of breakthrough pain with the sublingual tablets, patient must wait ≥2 hours before treating a subsequent episode of breakthrough pain with the sublingual tablets.

If response (analgesia or adverse reactions) to the titrated sublingual tablet dosage changes markedly, dosage adjustment may be necessary. If the patient experiences >4 breakthrough pain episodes daily, reevaluate the dosage of opiates used around the clock for chronic cancer pain. If the long-acting opiate or the dosage of the long-acting opiate is changed, reevaluate the sublingual tablet dosage and re-titrate as necessary. Limit use of the sublingual tablets to no more than 4 episodes of breakthrough pain daily.

In patients no longer requiring opiate analgesia, consider discontinuing the sublingual tablets along with the gradual tapering of other opiate analgesics to avoid manifestations of abrupt opiate withdrawal.

In patients who continue to take around-the-clock opiate analgesics for persistent pain but no longer require treatment for breakthrough pain, the sublingual tablets generally can be discontinued immediately.

Sublingual (Sublingual spray [Subsys])

Because of differences in pharmacokinetic properties, do not switch patients on a mcg-per-mcg basis from any other fentanyl preparation to the sublingual spray; sublingual spray is not equivalent to other fentanyl preparations. (See Clinically Important Pharmacokinetic Differences Among Fentanyl Formulations under Cautions.)

Use only in patients who are opiate tolerant. (See Malignant [Cancer] Pain under Uses.) Patients must continue receiving around-the-clock opiate analgesic therapy while receiving the sublingual spray for breakthrough pain.

Initially, 100 mcg for breakthrough episode in all patients except those being switched from fentanyl citrate buccal lozenges. If adequate analgesia is not achieved with the first 100-mcg dose, titrate dosage in a stepwise manner (see Table 5) with close monitoring to a level that provides adequate analgesia and acceptable adverse effects with a single dose per episode of breakthrough pain.

Table 5. Recommended Stepwise Dosage Titration of Fentanyl Sublingual Spray247

Fentanyl Dose

100 mcg (as one 100-mcg unit)

200 mcg (as one 200-mcg unit)

400 mcg (as one 400-mcg unit)

600 mcg (as one 600-mcg unit)

800 mcg (as one 800-mcg unit)

1200 mcg (as two 600-mcg units)

1600 mcg (as two 800-mcg units)

In patients being switched from fentanyl citrate buccal lozenges to the sublingual spray, base the initial sublingual spray dose on the current buccal lozenge dose (see Table 6). Instruct patient to stop using the buccal lozenges and dispose of any remaining lozenges. If adequate analgesia is not achieved with the initial dose of the sublingual spray, initiate dosage titration using a sublingual spray strength of 100 mcg in patients receiving a buccal lozenge dose of ≤400 mcg, a sublingual spray strength of 200 mcg in those receiving a buccal lozenge dose of 600 or 800 mcg, or a sublingual spray strength of 400 mcg in those receiving a buccal lozenge dose of 1200 or 1600 mcg; then proceed to titrate dosage in multiples of the initial spray unit strength.

Table 6. Recommended Initial Dose of Fentanyl Sublingual Spray for Patients Switching from Fentanyl Citrate Buccal Lozenges247

Current Fentanyl Dose as Buccal Lozenges

Initial Fentanyl Dose as Sublingual Spray

200 mcg

100 mcg

400 mcg

100 mcg

600 mcg

200 mcg

800 mcg

200 mcg

1200 mcg

400 mcg

1600 mcg

400 mcg

Instruct patient to record sublingual spray use over several episodes of breakthrough pain and to discuss their experience with their clinician to decide whether dosage adjustment is warranted.

During dosage titration, patients should have only one strength of sublingual spray available at any time.

During dosage titration period, if breakthrough pain is not relieved within 30 minutes following the initial sublingual dose, the patient may take only 1 additional dose of the same strength during that episode of breakthrough pain. No more than 2 doses of the sublingual spray may be given during a single episode of breakthrough pain. Patients must wait ≥4 hours before treating a subsequent episode of breakthrough pain with fentanyl sublingual spray.

Once an appropriate dose has been achieved, patients generally should use only 1 dose of the appropriate strength per episode of breakthrough pain. On occasion during maintenance therapy, when a breakthrough pain episode is not relieved within 30 minutes after the first sublingual dose, the patient may take only 1 additional dose of the same strength during that episode of breakthrough pain. After treating one episode of breakthrough pain with the sublingual spray, patients must wait ≥4 hours before treating a subsequent episode of breakthrough pain with the sublingual spray. Once an appropriate dose has been achieved, patients should administer no more than 4 doses of fentanyl sublingual spray daily.

Some patients may require adjustment of sublingual spray dosage to maintain effective analgesia; generally increase dosage only if several consecutive episodes require administration of >1 sublingual dose for pain relief. If a single sublingual spray dose produces excessive opiate effects, decrease subsequent doses. If the patient experiences >4 breakthrough pain episodes daily, reevaluate the dosage of opiates used around the clock for persistent cancer pain. If pain worsens, reevaluate the patient's condition.

Patients with grade 2 mucositis should not receive fentanyl sublingual spray unless the benefits outweigh the potential risk of respiratory depression from increased drug exposure. Closely monitor those with grade 1 mucositis, especially during treatment initiation. (See Special Populations under Pharmacokinetics: Absorption.)

Intranasal (Nasal spray [Lazanda])

Because of differences in pharmacokinetic properties and individual variability, do not switch patients on a mcg-per-mcg basis from any other fentanyl preparation to the nasal spray; nasal spray is not equivalent to other fentanyl preparations and is not a generic version of other fentanyl preparations. (See Clinically Important Pharmacokinetic Differences Among Fentanyl Formulations under Cautions.)

Use only in patients who are opiate tolerant. (See Malignant [Cancer] Pain under Uses.) Patients must continue receiving around-the-clock opiate analgesic therapy while receiving the nasal spray for breakthrough pain.

After initial priming (4 sprays), each nasal inhaler delivers eight 100-µL sprays, each containing 100, 300, or 400 mcg of fentanyl per metered spray.

Initially, 100 mcg (1 spray) in one nostril for breakthrough episode in all patients, including those switching from therapy with another fentanyl preparation.

If adequate analgesia is obtained within 30 minutes following the initial 100-mcg dose, confirm efficacy of the 100-mcg dose in the next episode of breakthrough pain. If adequate, use this dose for subsequent episodes of breakthrough pain.

If adequate analgesia is not achieved with the initial 100-mcg dose, increase dosage in stepwise manner (see Table 7) with careful monitoring over consecutive episodes of breakthrough pain to achieve adequate analgesia with acceptable adverse effects. Once an appropriate dose has been established, use that dose for each subsequent episode of breakthrough pain.

Safety and efficacy of doses >800 mcg not established in clinical trials.

Do not combine different dosage strengths to treat a single episode of breakthrough pain; this could result in dosage errors.

Table 7. Recommended Stepwise Dosage Titration of Fentanyl Citrate Nasal Spray246

Fentanyl Dose

Recommended Mode of Administration

100 mcg

1 spray (100 mcg/spray) in 1 nostril

200 mcg

Total of 2 sprays (100 mcg/spray), as 1 spray in each nostril

300 mcg

Total of 3 sprays (100 mcg/spray), alternating between right and left nostrils

400 mcg

Total of 4 sprays (100 mcg/spray), alternating between right and left nostrils; alternatively, 1 spray (400 mcg/spray) in 1 nostril

600 mcg

Total of 2 sprays (300 mcg/spray), as 1 spray in each nostril

800 mcg

Total of 2 sprays (400 mcg/spray), as 1 spray in each nostril

Patient must wait ≥2 hours after treating one episode of breakthrough pain with the nasal spray before treating a subsequent episode of breakthrough pain with the nasal spray.

Do not use the nasal spray to treat >4 episodes of breakthrough pain daily.

Patient may use a rescue analgesic (as directed by clinician) if breakthrough pain is not relieved within 30 minutes following a nasal spray dose or if a separate episode of breakthrough pain occurs before the next nasal spray dose is permitted.

If response (analgesia or adverse reactions) to the titrated nasal spray dosage changes markedly, dosage adjustment may be necessary. If the patient experiences >4 breakthrough pain episodes daily, reevaluate the dosage of opiates used around the clock for chronic cancer pain. If the long-acting opiate or the dosage of the long-acting opiate is changed, reevaluate the nasal spray dosage and re-titrate as necessary.

In patients no longer requiring opiate analgesia, consider discontinuing the nasal spray along with gradual tapering of other opiate analgesics to avoid manifestations of abrupt opiate withdrawal.

In patients who continue to take around-the-clock opiates for persistent pain but no longer require treatment for breakthrough pain, nasal spray generally can be discontinued immediately.

Chronic Malignant (Cancer) Pain and Other Chronic Pain
Initial Dose Selection in Patients Being Switched to Fentanyl Transdermal System
Transdermal (e.g., Duragesic)

Use transdermal system only in patients who are opiate tolerant. (See Uses.) Risk of fatal respiratory depression when administered to patients not already opiate tolerant. (See Fentanyl Transdermal Systems in Boxed Warning.)

Individualize initial dosage, taking into account the patient's prior analgesic use and risk factors for addiction, abuse, and misuse. Fatal overdose possible with the first transdermal dose if the dosage is overestimated.

Discontinue all other around-the-clock opiate analgesics when therapy with fentanyl transdermal system is initiated.

The manufacturers provide specific dosage recommendations for switching opiate-tolerant patients from certain oral or parenteral opiates to fentanyl transdermal system (see Table 8 and Table 9).

Alternatively, to switch patients who currently are receiving other opiate therapy or dosages that are not listed in Table 8 or Table 9 to fentanyl transdermal system, calculate the opiate analgesic requirements during the previous 24 hours. Then calculate an equianalgesic 24-hour dosage of oral morphine sulfate using a reliable source. Finally, calculate the equivalent dosage of fentanyl transdermal system using Table 10.

The manufacturers consider the initial dosages of transdermal fentanyl in Tables 8, 9, and 10 to be conservative estimates. Do not use the dosage conversion guidelines in these tables to switch patients from fentanyl transdermal system to oral or parenteral opiates, since dosage of oral or parenteral opiates may be overestimated.

Table 8: Dosage of Fentanyl Transdermal System Based on Current Oral Opiate Dosage225

Daily Dosage of Oral Opiate (in mg/day)

Transdermal Fentanyl (in mcg/hr)

Morphine sulfate

60–134

25

135–224

50

225–314

75

315–404

100

Oxycodone hydrochloride

30–67

25

67.5–112

50

112.5–157

75

157.5–202

100

Codeine phosphate

150–447

25

Hydromorphone hydrochloride

8–17

25

17.1–28

50

28.1–39

75

39.1–51

100

Methadone hydrochloride

20–44

25

45–74

50

75–104

75

105–134

100

Table 9: Dosage of Fentanyl Transdermal System Based on Current Parenteral Opiate Dosage225

Daily Dosage of Parenteral Opiate (in mg/day)

Transdermal Fentanyl (in mcg/hr)

Morphine sulfate IV/IM

10–22

25

23–37

50

38–52

75

53–67

100

Hydromorphone hydrochloride IV

1.5–3.4

25

3.5–5.6

50

5.7–7.9

75

8–10

100

Meperidine hydrochloride IM

75–165

25

166–278

50

279–390

75

391–503

100

Table 10: Dosage of Fentanyl Transdermal System Based on Daily Oral Morphine Equivalence225

Oral 24-hr Morphine (in mg/day)

Transdermal Fentanyl (in mcg/hr)

60–134

25

135–224

50

225–314

75

315–404

100

405–494

125

495–584

150

585–674

175

675–764

200

765–854

225

855–944

250

945–1034

275

1035–1124

300

For transdermal dosages >100 mcg/hour, apply multiple systems at different sites simultaneously.

Because of substantial interpatient variability in relative potency of opiate analgesics and analgesic formulations, it is preferable to underestimate the patient's 24-hour opiate requirements and provide “rescue” therapy with an immediate-release opiate analgesic than to overestimate the requirements and manage an adverse reaction.

If overdosage occurs, monitor patient for at least 72–96 hours because of long elimination half-life of this formulation (20–27 hours).

If analgesia is inadequate after initial application, dosage may be titrated upward after 3 days.

Give supplemental doses of a short-acting opiate as needed during the initial application period and subsequently thereafter as necessary to relieve breakthrough pain.

Dosage Adjustment to Achieve Adequate Analgesia
Transdermal (e.g., Duragesic)

If analgesia is inadequate after initial application of a fentanyl transdermal system, dosage may be increased after 3 days based on the daily dose of supplemental opiates during the second or third day after initial application.

Because subsequent equilibrium with an increased dosage may require up to 6 days to achieve, make further increases in dosage based on supplemental opiate requirements no more frequently than every 6 days (i.e., after two 72-hour application periods with a given dosage).

To convert supplemental opiate requirements to transdermal dosage, use a ratio of 45 mg of oral morphine sulfate (during a 24-hour period) to each 12.5-mcg/hour delivery from the fentanyl transdermal system.

Most patients are maintained adequately with transdermal systems applied at 72-hour intervals; however, some may require application of the systems at 48-hour intervals to maintain adequate analgesia. Before shortening the dosing interval for inadequate response to a given dose, evaluate a dose increase so that patients can be maintained on a 72-hour regimen if possible.

If unacceptable adverse effects are observed, decrease subsequent dosage.

Frequent communication among the prescriber, other members of the healthcare team, the patient, and the patient's caregiver or family is important during periods of changing analgesic requirements, including the initial dosage titration period.

Maintenance Therapy
Transdermal (e.g., Duragesic)

Continually assess adequacy of pain control and reevaluate for adverse effects, as well as for development of addiction, abuse, or misuse.

During long-term therapy, continually reevaluate need for continued opiate therapy.

Discontinuance of Transdermal Fentanyl Therapy
Transdermal (e.g., Duragesic)

To switch to another opiate, remove the fentanyl transdermal system and titrate the dosage of the other opiate according to patient response.

Substantial amounts of fentanyl continue to be absorbed from the skin for ≥24 hours after removal of the transdermal system. It generally takes 20–27 hours or serum fentanyl concentrations to decline by 50% following removal of the system.

Symptoms of withdrawal (e.g., nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, anxiety, shivering) may occur in some patients after switching to another opiate agonist or following discontinuance of the fentanyl transdermal system.

When transdermal fentanyl is discontinued and another opiate analgesic is not initiated, withdraw fentanyl gradually (e.g., reduce dosage by 50% every 6 days) to avoid precipitation of withdrawal symptoms. Dosage level at which transdermal fentanyl may be discontinued without producing withdrawal symptoms is not known.

Prescribing Limits

Adults

Acute Pain

For acute pain not related to trauma or surgery, limit prescribed quantity to amount needed for the expected duration of pain severe enough to require opiate analgesia (generally ≤3 days and rarely >7 days).

Chronic Noncancer Pain

CDC recommends that primary care clinicians carefully reassess individual benefits and risks before prescribing dosages equivalent to ≥50 mg of morphine sulfate daily (approximately ≥21 mcg/hour of transdermal fentanyl) for chronic pain and avoid dosages equivalent to ≥90 mg of morphine sulfate daily (approximately ≥37.5 mcg/hour of transdermal fentanyl) or carefully justify their decision to prescribe such dosages. Other experts recommend consulting a pain management specialist before exceeding a dosage equivalent to 80–120 mg of morphine sulfate daily.

Some states have set prescribing limits (e.g., maximum daily dosages that can be prescribed, dosage thresholds at which consultation with a specialist is mandated or recommended).

Special Populations

Hepatic Impairment

Parenteral fentanyl: Reduce initial dosage.

Fentanyl transdermal system: Reduce initial dosage by 50% in patients with mild to moderate hepatic impairment; monitor closely for sedation and respiratory depression, including after each increase in dosage. Because of long half-life of this formulation, avoid use in patients with severe hepatic impairment.

Transmucosal immediate-release preparations (buccal lozenges, buccal tablets, sublingual tablets, sublingual spray, nasal spray): Insufficient information available to support recommendations regarding use; if used, caution advised.

Renal Impairment

Parenteral fentanyl: Reduce initial dosage.

Fentanyl transdermal system: Reduce initial dosage by 50% in patients with mild to moderate renal impairment; monitor closely for sedation and respiratory depression, including after each increase in dosage. Because of long half-life of this formulation, avoid use in patients with severe renal impairment.

Transmucosal immediate-release preparations (buccal lozenges, buccal tablets, sublingual tablets, sublingual spray, nasal spray): Insufficient information available to support recommendations regarding use; if used, caution advised.

Geriatric Patients

Titrate fentanyl dosage carefully.

Parenteral fentanyl: Reduce initial doses; response to initial dosing should be considered in determining subsequent incremental doses.

Fentanyl transdermal system: Select dosage with caution, usually starting at the low end of the dosage range, because of age-related decreases in hepatic, renal, and/or cardiac function and concomitant disease and drug therapy.

Buccal lozenges: Doses in patients >65 years of age generally are about 200 mcg lower than those required in younger adults.

Buccal tablets: Doses in patients >65 years of age are slightly lower than those required in younger adults.

Sublingual tablets: Median dose is similar in patients ≥65 years of age and younger adults.

Cautions for fentaNYL

Contraindications

  • Known hypersensitivity to fentanyl or any ingredient or component of the respective formulation.

  • Transmucosal immediate-release preparations (buccal lozenges, buccal tablets, sublingual tablets, sublingual spray, nasal spray) contraindicated in the management of acute pain (e.g., migraine or other headaches, dental pain, emergency department use) or postoperative pain and in non-opiate-tolerant patients because of the risk of life-threatening respiratory depression.

  • Fentanyl transdermal system contraindicated in the management of acute, mild, intermittent, or postoperative pain (e.g., following outpatient or day surgery [e.g., tonsillectomy]); in patients who require opiate analgesia for a short period of time; and in patients who are not opiate tolerant because of the prolonged duration of effects and risk of serious or life-threatening respiratory depression.

  • Fentanyl transdermal system also contraindicated in patients with substantial respiratory depression, especially in settings where adequate monitoring and equipment for resuscitation are not available; in patients with acute or severe bronchial asthma; and in those with known or suspected paralytic ileus.

Warnings/Precautions

Warnings

Fentanyl shares the toxic potentials of the opiate agonists; observe the usual precautions of opiate agonist therapy.

Respiratory Depression

The major toxicity associated with fentanyl. Serious, life-threatening, or fatal respiratory depression can occur even when used as recommended.

Occurs most frequently in patients with respiratory disease and in geriatric, cachectic, and debilitated patients, usually following large initial doses in nontolerant patients, or when given concomitantly with drugs that depress respiration.

Even therapeutic doses of fentanyl may decrease respiratory drive to the point of apnea in patients with COPD or cor pulmonale, and in those with substantially decreased respiratory reserve, hypoxia, hypercapnia, or preexisting respiratory depression. Monitor closely, particularly when initiating therapy or titrating dosage. During anesthesia, this can be managed with assisted or controlled respiration. Use nonopiate analgesics if possible.

Carbon dioxide retention from opiate-induced respiratory depression can exacerbate the drug's sedative effects.

The respiratory depressant effect may persist longer than the analgesic effect.

Use fentanyl only under the supervision of qualified clinicians. (See Supervised Administration under Cautions.)

Serious, life-threatening, or fatal respiratory depression can occur at any time during therapy with fentanyl transdermal system, but risk is greatest during initiation of therapy and following dosage increases. Monitor closely for respiratory depression, especially during first 24–72 hours of therapy and following any dosage increase. Observe patients who receive an overdose of transdermal fentanyl for at least 72–96 hours, since serum concentrations decline gradually (approximate 50% reduction in 20–27 hours) after system removal.

Use of fentanyl transdermal system or transmucosal immediate-release preparations in non-opiate-tolerant patients may result in fatal respiratory depression and is contraindicated.

Use of cut, damaged, or altered transdermal systems may expose the patient or caregiver to the contents of the system and result in rapid release of fentanyl and absorption of a potentially lethal dose of the drug.

Death and life-threatening adverse effects reported in patients receiving fentanyl transdermal system; attributed to inappropriate prescribing (e.g., use for postoperative pain, occasional or mild pain, or headaches) and incorrect use by patients (application of too many systems, application of heat to the system, replacement of systems too frequently). Use only in opiate-tolerant patients with pain that is severe enough to require long-term, daily, around-the-clock use of an opiate analgesic and in whom alternative treatment options (e.g., nonopiate analgesics, immediate-release opiates) are inadequate or not tolerated.

Death and life-threatening adverse effects reported in patients receiving transmucosal immediate-release fentanyl preparations; attributed to improper patient selection (e.g., use of these formulations in patients who were not opiate tolerant) and/or improper dosage. Use these formulations only for treatment of breakthrough pain in patients who are already receiving opiates for persistent cancer pain and are opiate tolerant.

Do not switch patients from one transmucosal immediate-release fentanyl preparation (buccal lozenges, buccal tablets, sublingual tablets, sublingual spray, nasal spray) on a mcg-per-mcg basis to another such preparation or to any other fentanyl preparation; do not dispense one such preparation as a substitute for another. Such substitution may result in fatal overdosage. (See Clinically Important Pharmacokinetic Differences Among Fentanyl Formulations under Cautions.)

Avoid use of fentanyl sublingual spray in patients with grade 2 or worse mucositis unless benefits are expected to outweigh risks of respiratory depression; the increase in fentanyl exposure in these patients may be large and variable. (See Absorption: Special Populations, under Pharmacokinetics.) Carefully monitor those with grade 1 mucositis for respiratory and CNS depression, particularly during initiation of therapy.

Routinely discuss availability of the opiate antagonist naloxone with all patients receiving new or reauthorized prescriptions for opiate analgesics, including fentanyl.

Consider prescribing naloxone for patients receiving opiate analgesics who are at increased risk of opiate overdosage (e.g., those receiving concomitant therapy with benzodiazepines or other CNS depressants, those with history of opiate or substance use disorder, those with medical conditions that could increase sensitivity to opiate effects, those who have experienced a prior opiate overdose) or who have household members, including children, or other close contacts who are at risk for accidental ingestion or overdosage. Even if patients are not receiving an opiate analgesic, consider prescribing naloxone if the patient is at increased risk of opiate overdosage (e.g., those with current or past diagnosis of OUD, those who have experienced a prior opiate overdose).

Dependence, Abuse, and Addiction

Physical dependence and tolerance may develop with repeated administration. Abrupt cessation of therapy or sudden reduction in dosage after prolonged use may result in withdrawal symptoms. After prolonged exposure to opiate analgesics, if withdrawal is necessary, it must be undertaken gradually.

High potential for abuse; subject to misuse, addiction, and criminal diversion. Addiction can occur with appropriately prescribed or illicitly obtained opiates, and at recommended dosages or with misuse or abuse. Abuse can result in overdosage and death.

Proper patient assessment and prescribing practices, proper storage and disposal, and periodic reevaluation of therapy may help limit potential for abuse.

Assess each patient’s risk for addiction, abuse, and misuse prior to prescribing; monitor all patients for development of these behaviors or conditions. Personal or family history of substance abuse (drug or alcohol addiction or abuse) or mental illness (e.g., major depression) increases risk.

The potential for addiction, abuse, and misuse should not prevent opiate prescribing for appropriate pain management, but does necessitate intensive counseling about risks and proper use and intensive monitoring for these behaviors and conditions.

Modified-release (e.g., extended-release) opiates (e.g., fentanyl transdermal system) are associated with a greater risk of overdosage and death because of the larger amount of drug contained in each dosage unit. Abuse or misuse of fentanyl transdermal systems by intentionally compromising the delivery system may result in uncontrolled delivery of fentanyl and can result in a fatal overdose.

Clinically Important Pharmacokinetic Differences Among Fentanyl Formulations

Substantial pharmacokinetic differences exist among transmucosal immediate-release formulations of fentanyl (buccal lozenges, buccal tablets, sublingual tablets, sublingual spray, nasal spray), and between these formulations and other preparations of the drug; the differences in rate and extent of absorption may be clinically important; potential for fatal overdosage. (See Bioavailability under Pharmacokinetics.)

Transmucosal immediate-release fentanyl formulations must not be prescribed or dispensed interchangeably (e.g., on a mcg-per-mcg basis) with each other or with any other fentanyl preparation.

Only limited information is available for safely switching from one transmucosal immediate-release formulation to another. (See Dosage under Dosage and Administration.)

Accidental Exposure

Risk of serious or fatal adverse effects following accidental exposure to fentanyl transdermal systems (e.g., transfer of a transdermal system from an adult to a child while hugging, exposure of individuals sharing the same bed, inadvertently sitting on a transdermal system, exposure of the caregiver’s skin to the drug during application or removal of the transdermal system, exposure to systems that were disposed of improperly). If accidental exposure occurs, remove system and wash area of contact with water.

Risk of choking or potentially fatal overdosage of fentanyl if transdermal system is placed in the mouth, chewed or swallowed, or used in other unintended ways.

Risk of fatal overdosage if transmucosal immediate-release preparations are ingested by non-opiate-tolerant individuals or individuals for whom drug was not prescribed. If accidental exposure to solid transmucosal dosage forms occurs, attempt to remove dosage form from mouth.

Accidentally exposed individuals should seek medical attention immediately.

Proper storage, handling, and disposal are essential to prevent accidental exposure. (See Advice to Patients, see Administration under Dosage and Administration, and see Storage under Stability.)

Interactions with CYP3A4 Inhibitors

Concomitant use of fentanyl with CYP3A4 inhibitors may increase plasma fentanyl concentrations, increasing or prolonging opiate effects and potentially resulting in fatal respiratory depression. (See Interactions.)

Patients with Fever or Exposure to High Temperatures

Closely observe patients who develop a fever during therapy with fentanyl transdermal system for manifestations of opiate toxicity and adjust dosage accordingly; drug release from the system and percutaneous permeability of the drug are temperature dependent. Serum fentanyl concentrations theoretically could increase by approximately one-third when body temperature increases to 40°C.

Patients should avoid strenuous exertion that leads to increased core body temperature while wearing the transdermal system.

Application of heat over the fentanyl transdermal system increases mean exposure and peak plasma concentrations by 120 and 61%, respectively; fatal overdosage reported. Avoid exposing the application site or surrounding area to direct external heat sources (e.g., heating pads, electric blankets, heat or tanning lamps, saunas, hot tubs, hot baths, heated water beds, sunbathing) while the transdermal system is being worn.

Concomitant Use with Benzodiazepines or Other CNS Depressants

Concomitant use of opiates, including fentanyl, and benzodiazepines or other CNS depressants (e.g., anxiolytics, sedatives, hypnotics, tranquilizers, muscle relaxants, general anesthetics, antipsychotics, other opiate agonists, alcohol) may result in profound sedation, respiratory depression, coma, and death. Substantial proportion of fatal opiate overdoses involve concurrent benzodiazepine use.

Reserve concomitant use of fentanyl and other CNS depressants for patients in whom alternative treatment options are inadequate. (See Specific Drugs and Foods under Interactions.)

Other Warnings/Precautions

Supervised Administration

Administer only under the supervision of qualified clinicians who are experienced in the use of opiates for anesthesia or the management of pain (depending on use) and in the management of respiratory effects of potent opiates.

Opiate antagonist and facilities for administration of oxygen and controlled respiration should be available during and immediately following IV administration.

Use transmucosal immediate-release formulations (buccal lozenges, buccal tablets, sublingual tablets, sublingual spray, nasal spray) only under the supervision of qualified clinicians who are experienced in the use of schedule II (C-II) opiates for the management of cancer pain.

Use fentanyl transdermal system only under the supervision of clinicians who are experienced in continuous administration of potent opiates for the management of chronic pain.

Serotonin Syndrome

Serotonin syndrome reported during concurrent use of opiate agonists, including fentanyl, and serotonergic drugs or drugs that impair serotonin metabolism (e.g., MAO inhibitors). (See Interactions.)

Serotonin syndrome may occur at usual dosages. Manifestations may include mental status changes (e.g., agitation, hallucinations, coma), autonomic instability (e.g., tachycardia, labile BP, hyperthermia), neuromuscular aberrations (e.g., hyperreflexia, incoordination, rigidity), and/or GI symptoms (e.g., nausea, vomiting, diarrhea).

Adrenal Insufficiency

Adrenal insufficiency reported in patients receiving opiate agonists or opiate partial agonists. Manifestations are nonspecific and may include nausea, vomiting, anorexia, fatigue, weakness, dizziness, and hypotension.

If adrenal insufficiency is suspected, perform appropriate laboratory testing promptly and provide physiologic (replacement) dosages of corticosteroids; taper and discontinue the opiate agonist or partial agonist to allow recovery of adrenal function. If the opiate agonist or partial agonist can be discontinued, perform follow-up assessment of adrenal function to determine if corticosteroid replacement therapy can be discontinued. In some patients, switching to a different opiate improved symptoms.

Head Injury and Increased Intracranial Pressure

May reduce respiratory drive; the resultant carbon dioxide retention can further increase intracranial pressure.

May obscure the clinical course in patients with head injuries; use only if clinically warranted.

Use with extreme caution in patients who may be particularly susceptible to the intracranial effects of carbon dioxide retention or who are especially prone to respiratory depression (e.g., comatose patients; those with head injury, brain tumor, impaired consciousness, or elevated CSF pressure); monitor closely for signs of sedation and respiratory depression, particularly during initiation of therapy.

Avoid use of extended-release fentanyl (fentanyl transdermal system) in those who may be particularly susceptible to intracranial effects of carbon dioxide retention; monitor patients with brain tumors who may be susceptible to such effects for signs of sedation and respiratory depression, particularly during initiation of therapy.

Musculoskeletal Effects

May cause muscle rigidity, particularly involving the respiratory muscles. Use of neuromuscular blocking agents before or simultaneous with anesthetic use of fentanyl can reduce the risk.

CNS Effects

May impair mental alertness and/or physical coordination needed to perform potentially hazardous activities such as driving or operating machinery; warn patient about possible adverse CNS effects of opiate agonists.

Hypotension

May cause severe hypotension, including orthostatic hypotension and syncope, in ambulatory patients.

Increased risk of severe hypotension in patients whose ability to maintain their BP is compromised by depleted blood volume or concomitant use of certain drugs (e.g., phenothiazines, general anesthetics). (See Specific Drugs and Foods under Interactions.) Monitor these patients for hypotension after initiation of therapy or dosage titration.

Cardiac Arrhythmia

Because of cholinergic effects, may cause bradycardia. Caution in patients with cardiac bradyarrhythmias; monitor closely for changes in heart rate, particularly during initiation of therapy.

Interactions with MAO Inhibitors

Severe and unpredictable potentiation by MAO inhibitors may occur. Avoid use in patients who are receiving or have received MAO inhibitors within 14 days.

Seizure Disorders

May aggravate preexisting seizure disorder. Monitor for worsened seizure control.

May induce or aggravate seizures in some clinical settings.

Debilitated and Special Risk Patients

Increased risk of life-threatening respiratory depression in geriatric, cachectic, or debilitated patients because of altered pharmacokinetics. Monitor closely, especially when initiating therapy, titrating dosage, or using other respiratory depressants concomitantly.

Use with caution in patients with pulmonary disease. (See Respiratory Depression under Cautions.)

Pancreatic and Biliary Disease

May cause spasm of the sphincter of Oddi and increase serum amylase concentrations. Monitor patients with biliary tract disease, including acute pancreatitis, for worsening symptoms.

Hypogonadism

Hypogonadism or androgen deficiency reported in patients receiving long-term opiate agonist or opiate partial agonist therapy; causality not established. Manifestations may include decreased libido, impotence, erectile dysfunction, amenorrhea, or infertility. Perform appropriate laboratory testing in patients with manifestations of hypogonadism.

Dental Decay

Dental decay, including caries, tooth loss, and gum line erosion, has occurred in patients receiving fentanyl citrate buccal lozenges, despite routine oral hygiene in some patients. (See Transmucosal Immediate-release Fentanyl Preparations under Advice to Patients.) Each fentanyl citrate buccal lozenge contains 2 g of sugar.

Diabetes Mellitus

Each buccal lozenge contains 2 g of sugar.

Local Reactions

Application site reactions (e.g., paresthesia, pain, ulceration, irritation, bleeding) reported in patients receiving fentanyl citrate buccal tablets; tend to occur early during treatment and generally are self-limited.

Specific Populations

Pregnancy

Category C.

Analysis of data from the National Birth Defects Prevention Study (large population-based, case-control study) suggests therapeutic use of opiates in pregnant women during organogenesis is associated with a low absolute risk of birth defects, including heart defects, spina bifida, and gastroschisis.

Transient neonatal muscular rigidity reported in infants whose mothers received IV fentanyl.

Use of opiates during late pregnancy can result in neonatal respiratory depression.

Prolonged maternal use of opiates during pregnancy can result in neonatal opiate withdrawal syndrome; in contrast to adults, withdrawal syndrome in neonates may be life-threatening and requires management according to protocols developed by neonatology experts. Syndrome presents with irritability, hyperactivity and abnormal sleep pattern, high-pitched cry, tremor, vomiting, diarrhea, and failure to gain weight. Onset, duration, and severity vary depending on the specific opiate used, duration of use, timing and amount of last maternal use, and rate of drug elimination by the neonate.

Lactation

Distributed into milk. Limited data suggest breast-fed infants receive an estimated 0.38% of the maternal weight-adjusted dosage. Potential risk (sedation, respiratory depression) to nursing infants.

Manufacturers of fentanyl transdermal system and transmucosal immediate-release fentanyl preparations (used only in opiate-tolerant patients) state these preparations should not be used in nursing women because of the potential for serious adverse effects in nursing infants.

Symptoms of withdrawal can occur in opiate-dependent infants upon cessation of breast-feeding by women receiving fentanyl.

Pediatric Use

Safety and efficacy of parenteral fentanyl citrate and fentanyl transdermal systems not established in children <2 years of age.

Safety and efficacy of buccal lozenges not established in pediatric patients <16 years of age.

Safety and efficacy of buccal tablets, sublingual tablets, sublingual spray, and nasal spray not established in patients <18 years of age.

To reduce potential for accidental ingestion, carefully select application site in young children receiving transdermal fentanyl therapy and monitor the system for proper adhesion over the period of application.

Transdermal systems and transmucosal immediate-release preparations (buccal lozenges, buccal tablets, sublingual tablets, sublingual spray, nasal spray) contain fentanyl in amounts that can be fatal to a child.

Fatal respiratory depression can occur if a transdermal system is accidentally or deliberately applied or ingested by a child or adolescent; choking can occur if the system is ingested. High risk of respiratory depression if a child accidentally ingests a transmucosal immediate-release preparation. (See Advice to Patients and see Accidental Exposure under Cautions.)

Geriatric Use

Pharmacokinetics may be altered, increasing risk of life-threatening respiratory depression. Monitor closely for sedation and respiratory depression, particularly during initiation or titration of therapy and when other respiratory depressants are used concomitantly. Use caution when titrating dosage. (See Geriatric Patients under Dosage and Administration.)

Clearance of IV fentanyl may be reduced. Geriatric patients may be more sensitive to effects of IV fentanyl.

Pharmacokinetics of fentanyl transdermal system in geriatric patients not substantially different than that in younger adults, although peak serum concentrations tended to be lower and mean half-life was prolonged in geriatric patients.

Dosage of buccal lozenges (following titration) generally about 200 mcg lower in geriatric patients than in younger adults. Median dosage of sublingual tablets (following titration) similar to that in younger adults. Dosage of buccal tablets (following titration) slightly lower in geriatric patients than in younger adults.

Increased frequency of certain adverse effects (e.g., vomiting, constipation, abdominal pain) reported in geriatric patients compared with younger adults receiving buccal tablets. Safety profiles of buccal lozenges, sublingual tablets, sublingual spray, and nasal spray in geriatric patients generally similar to those observed in younger adults.

Hepatic Impairment

Exercise caution and reduce initial parenteral dosage.

Reduce initial dosage of fentanyl transdermal system in patients with mild to moderate hepatic impairment; monitor closely for sedation and respiratory depression, including after each increase in dosage. Because of the long half-life of this formulation, avoid use in patients with severe hepatic impairment. (See Hepatic Impairment under Dosage and Administration.)

Insufficient information available to support recommendations regarding use of transmucosal immediate-release preparations; if used, caution advised.

Renal Impairment

Exercise caution and reduce initial parenteral dosage.

Reduce initial dosage of fentanyl transdermal system in patients with mild to moderate renal impairment; monitor closely for sedation and respiratory depression, including after each increase in dosage. Because of the long half-life of this formulation, avoid use in patients with severe renal impairment. (See Renal Impairment under Dosage and Administration.)

Insufficient information available to support recommendations regarding use of transmucosal immediate-release preparations; if used, caution advised.

Common Adverse Effects

Headache, nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, somnolence, confusion, asthenia, fatigue, dizziness, insomnia, anxiety, dyspnea, peripheral edema, dehydration, anemia.

IV administration: Skeletal and thoracic muscle rigidity also occur frequently.

Transdermal system: Erythema (may persist for ≥6 hours after removal of the system), papules, pruritus, and edema at application site also occur frequently.

Buccal tablets: Application site reactions (e.g., paresthesia, pain, bleeding, ulceration, irritation) also occur frequently.

Interactions for fentaNYL

Metabolized by CYP3A4.

Drugs Affecting Hepatic Microsomal Enzymes

CYP3A4 inhibitors: Possible increased plasma fentanyl concentrations; may result in increased or prolonged opiate effects, including potentially fatal respiratory depression. If concomitant use is necessary, monitor frequently and consider dosage adjustments until drug effects are stable. Following initiation or increase in dosage of a CYP3A4 inhibitor, carefully monitor patient for increased opiate effects over an extended time. Any increases in dosage should be conservative.

CYP3A4 inducers: Possible decreased plasma fentanyl concentrations; may result in decreased analgesic efficacy and/or development of opiate withdrawal. If concomitant use is necessary, monitor for opiate withdrawal and consider dosage adjustments until drug effects are stable. If the CYP3A4 inducer is discontinued, fentanyl concentrations may increase, possibly resulting in increased or prolonged therapeutic or adverse effects, including potentially fatal respiratory depression. If CYP3A4 inducer is discontinued or dosage is reduced, monitor for increased opiate effects and adjust fentanyl dosage as necessary.

Drugs Associated with Serotonin Syndrome

Risk of serotonin syndrome when used with other serotonergic drugs. May occur at usual dosages. Symptom onset generally occurs within several hours to a few days of concomitant use, but may occur later, particularly after dosage increases. (See Advice to Patients.)

If concomitant use of other serotonergic drugs is warranted, monitor patients for serotonin syndrome, particularly during initiation of therapy and dosage increases.

If serotonin syndrome is suspected, discontinue fentanyl, other opiate therapy, and/or any concurrently administered serotonergic agents.

Specific Drugs and Foods

Drug or Food

Interaction

Comments

Amiodarone

May increase plasma fentanyl concentrations resulting in increased or prolonged opiate effects

Monitor frequently; consider dosage adjustments until drug effects are stable

Monitor for extended time after amiodarone initiation or dosage increase

Dosage increases should be conservative

Amphetamines

Dextroamphetamine may enhance opiate agonist analgesia

Antibiotics, macrolide (clarithromycin, erythromycin, telithromycin, troleandomycin)

May increase plasma fentanyl concentrations resulting in increased or prolonged opiate effects

Monitor frequently; consider dosage adjustments until drug effects are stable

Monitor for extended time after macrolide initiation or dosage increase

Dosage increases should be conservative

Anticholinergic agents

Possible increased risk of urinary retention and/or severe constipation, which may lead to paralytic ileus

Monitor for urinary retention and decreased GI motility

Antidepressants, SSRIs (e.g., citalopram, escitalopram, fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, paroxetine, sertraline), SNRIs (e.g., desvenlafaxine, duloxetine, milnacipran, venlafaxine), tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), mirtazapine, nefazodone, trazodone, vilazodone

Risk of serotonin syndrome

TCAs: Opiates may potentiate the effects of TCAs

Nefazodone: May increase plasma fentanyl concentrations resulting in increased or prolonged opiate effects

If concomitant use warranted, monitor for serotonin syndrome, particularly during initiation of therapy and dosage increases

If serotonin syndrome suspected, discontinue fentanyl, the antidepressant, and/or any concurrently administered opiates or serotonergic agents

Nefazodone: Monitor frequently and consider dosage adjustments until drug effects are stable; monitor for extended time after nefazodone initiation or dosage increase; dosage increases should be conservative

Antiemetics, 5-HT3 receptor antagonists (e.g., dolasetron, granisetron, ondansetron, palonosetron)

Risk of serotonin syndrome

If concomitant use warranted, monitor for serotonin syndrome, particularly during initiation of therapy and dosage increases

If serotonin syndrome suspected, discontinue fentanyl, the 5-HT3 receptor antagonist, and/or any concurrently administered opiates or serotonergic agents

Antifungals, azole (fluconazole, itraconazole, ketoconazole)

May increase plasma fentanyl concentrations resulting in increased or prolonged opiate effects

Monitor frequently; consider dosage adjustments until drug effects are stable

Monitor for extended time after antifungal initiation or dosage increase

Dosage increases should be conservative

Antipsychotics (e.g., aripiprazole, asenapine, cariprazine, chlorpromazine, clozapine, fluphenazine, haloperidol, iloperidone, loxapine, lurasidone, molindone, olanzapine, paliperidone, perphenazine, pimavanserin, quetiapine, risperidone, thioridazine, thiothixene, trifluoperazine, ziprasidone)

Risk of hypotension, profound sedation, respiratory depression, coma, or death

Parenteral fentanyl: Decreased pulmonary arterial pressure also may occur

Use concomitantly only if alternative treatment options are inadequate; use lowest effective dosages and shortest possible duration of concomitant therapy

In patients receiving fentanyl, initiate antipsychotic, if required, at lower dosage than indicated in the absence of opiate therapy and titrate based on clinical response

In patients receiving an antipsychotic, initiate fentanyl, if required, at reduced dosage and titrate based on clinical response

Monitor closely for respiratory depression and sedation

Consider potential for decreased pulmonary arterial pressure when performing diagnostic or surgical procedures where interpretation of such measurements might determine patient management

Parenteral fentanyl: If hypotension occurs, consider possibility of hypovolemia and manage as clinically appropriate (e.g., IV fluids, repositioning of patient to improve venous return, pressor therapy)

Initiate parenteral fentanyl for postoperative analgesia at reduced dosage and titrate based on clinical response; monitor closely for hypotension, respiratory depression, and sedation and ensure measures (e.g., fluids) to counteract hypotension are available

Aprepitant

May increase plasma fentanyl concentrations resulting in increased or prolonged opiate effects

Monitor frequently; consider dosage adjustments until drug effects are stable

Monitor for extended time after aprepitant initiation or dosage increase

Dosage increases should be conservative

Barbiturates (e.g., phenobarbital)

May decrease plasma fentanyl concentrations; possible reduced analgesic effect and/or withdrawal symptoms

(Also see Sedative/hypnotic agents entry in interactions table)

Monitor for opiate withdrawal; consider dosage adjustments until drug effects are stable

If barbiturate is discontinued or dosage is decreased, monitor for increased opiate effects (e.g., respiratory depression ); adjust fentanyl dosage as necessary

(Also see Sedative/hypnotic agents entry in interactions table)

Benzodiazepines (e.g., alprazolam, chlordiazepoxide, clobazam, clonazepam, clorazepate, diazepam, estazolam, flurazepam, lorazepam, midazolam, oxazepam, quazepam, temazepam, triazolam)

Risk of hypotension, profound sedation, respiratory depression, coma, or death

Parenteral fentanyl: Decreased pulmonary arterial pressure also may occur; risk of cardiovascular depression when even relatively small diazepam dosages given with high or anesthetic fentanyl dosages

Whenever possible, avoid concomitant use

Use concomitantly only if alternative treatment options are inadequate; use lowest effective dosages and shortest possible duration of concomitant therapy

In patients receiving fentanyl, initiate benzodiazepine, if required for any indication other than epilepsy, at lower dosage than indicated in the absence of opiate therapy and titrate based on clinical response

In patients receiving a benzodiazepine, initiate fentanyl, if required, at reduced dosage and titrate based on clinical response

Monitor closely for respiratory depression and sedation; also monitor closely for hypotension in postoperative setting

Consider prescribing naloxone for patients receiving opiates and benzodiazepines concomitantly

Consider potential for decreased pulmonary arterial pressure when performing diagnostic or surgical procedures where interpretation of such measurements might determine patient management

Parenteral fentanyl: If hypotension occurs, consider possibility of hypovolemia and manage as clinically appropriate (e.g., IV fluids, repositioning of patient to improve venous return, pressor therapy)

Initiate parenteral fentanyl for postoperative analgesia at reduced dosage and titrate based on clinical response; monitor closely for hypotension, respiratory depression, and sedation and ensure measures (e.g., fluids) to counteract hypotension are available

Buspirone

Risk of serotonin syndrome

If concomitant use warranted, monitor for serotonin syndrome, particularly during initiation of therapy and dosage increases

If serotonin syndrome suspected, discontinue fentanyl, buspirone, and/or any concurrently administered opiates or serotonergic agents

Calcium-channel blocking agents (diltiazem, verapamil)

May increase plasma fentanyl concentrations resulting in increased or prolonged opiate effects

Monitor frequently; consider dosage adjustments until drug effects are stable

Monitor for extended time after diltiazem or verapamil initiation or dosage increase

Dosage increases should be conservative

Carbamazepine, oxcarbazepine

May decrease plasma fentanyl concentrations; possible reduced analgesic effect and/or withdrawal symptoms

Monitor for opiate withdrawal; consider dosage adjustments until drug effects are stable

If anticonvulsant is discontinued or dosage is decreased, monitor for increased opiate effects (e.g., respiratory depression ); adjust fentanyl dosage as necessary

Cimetidine

May increase plasma fentanyl concentrations resulting in increased or prolonged opiate effects

Monitor frequently; consider dosage adjustments until drug effects are stable

Monitor for extended time after cimetidine initiation or dosage increase

Dosage increases should be conservative

CNS depressants (e.g., other opiates, anxiolytics, general anesthetics, tranquilizers, alcohol)

Increased risk of CNS depressant effects (hypotension, respiratory depression, profound sedation, coma, death)

Parenteral fentanyl: Decreased pulmonary arterial pressure also may occur

Use concomitantly only if alternative treatment options are inadequate; use lowest effective dosages and shortest possible duration of concomitant therapy

In patients receiving fentanyl, initiate CNS depressant, if required for any indication other than epilepsy, at lower dosage than indicated in the absence of opiate therapy and titrate based on clinical response

In patients receiving a CNS depressant, initiate fentanyl, if required, at reduced dosage and titrate based on clinical response

Monitor closely for respiratory depression and sedation; also monitor closely for hypotension in postoperative setting

Consider prescribing naloxone for patients receiving opiates and other CNS depressants concomitantly

Avoid alcohol use

Consider potential for decreased pulmonary arterial pressure when performing diagnostic or surgical procedures where interpretation of such measurements might determine patient management

Parenteral fentanyl: If hypotension occurs, consider possibility of hypovolemia and manage as clinically appropriate (e.g., IV fluids, repositioning of patient to improve venous return, pressor therapy)

Initiate parenteral fentanyl for postoperative analgesia at reduced dosage and titrate based on clinical response; monitor closely for hypotension, respiratory depression, and sedation and ensure measures (e.g., fluids) to counteract hypotension are available

Dextromethorphan

Risk of serotonin syndrome

If concomitant use warranted, monitor for serotonin syndrome, particularly during initiation of therapy and dosage increases

If serotonin syndrome suspected, discontinue fentanyl, dextromethorphan, and/or any concurrently administered opiates or serotonergic agents

Diuretics

Opiates may decrease diuretic efficacy by inducing vasopressin release

Possible acute urinary retention due to bladder sphincter spasm, particularly in men with enlarged prostate

Efavirenz

May decrease plasma fentanyl concentrations; possible reduced analgesic effect and/or withdrawal symptoms

Monitor for opiate withdrawal; consider dosage adjustments until drug effects are stable

If efavirenz is discontinued or dosage is decreased, monitor for increased opiate effects (e.g., respiratory depression ); adjust fentanyl dosage as necessary

Glucocorticoids

May decrease plasma fentanyl concentrations; possible reduced analgesic effect and/or withdrawal symptoms

Monitor for opiate withdrawal; consider dosage adjustments until drug effects are stable

If glucocorticoid is discontinued or dosage is decreased, monitor for increased opiate effects (e.g., respiratory depression ); adjust fentanyl dosage as necessary

Grapefruit, grapefruit juice

May increase plasma fentanyl concentrations resulting in increased or prolonged opiate effects

Avoid concomitant use

HIV protease inhibitors (PIs) (fosamprenavir, indinavir, nelfinavir, ritonavir, saquinavir)

May increase plasma fentanyl concentrations resulting in increased or prolonged opiate effects

Ritonavir: Decreased clearance and increased AUC of fentanyl

Monitor frequently; consider dosage adjustments until drug effects are stable

Monitor for extended time after PI initiation or dosage increase

Dosage increases should be conservative

5-HT1 receptor agonists (triptans; e.g., almotriptan, frovatriptan, naratriptan, rizatriptan, sumatriptan, zolmitriptan)

Risk of serotonin syndrome

If concomitant use warranted, monitor for serotonin syndrome, particularly during initiation of therapy and dosage increases

If serotonin syndrome suspected, discontinue fentanyl, the triptan, and/or any concurrently administered opiates or serotonergic agents

Lithium

Risk of serotonin syndrome

If concomitant use warranted, monitor for serotonin syndrome, particularly during initiation of therapy and dosage increases

If serotonin syndrome suspected, discontinue fentanyl, lithium, and/or any concurrently administered opiates or serotonergic agents

MAO inhibitors (e.g., isocarboxazid, linezolid, methylene blue, phenelzine, selegiline, tranylcypromine)

Severe and unpredictable potentiation by MAO inhibitors

Risk of serotonin syndrome

Do not use in patients who are receiving or have received MAO inhibitors within 14 days

If serotonin syndrome suspected, discontinue fentanyl, the MAO inhibitor, and/or any concurrently administered opiates or serotonergic agents

Modafinil

May decrease plasma fentanyl concentrations; possible reduced analgesic effect and/or withdrawal symptoms

Monitor for opiate withdrawal; consider dosage adjustments until drug effects are stable

If modafinil is discontinued or dosage is decreased, monitor for increased opiate effects (e.g., respiratory depression ); adjust fentanyl dosage as necessary

Nasal vasoconstrictors (e.g., oxymetazoline)

Possible altered fentanyl absorption across nasal mucosa

Oxymetazoline and fentanyl (both intranasal): Decreased and delayed peak concentrations and decreased AUC of fentanyl in individuals with ragweed-induced allergic (seasonal) rhinitis; possible reduced analgesic effect

Possible selection of inappropriate intranasal fentanyl dose if dosage titration occurs during use of nasal decongestants for allergic rhinitis

Avoid titration of intranasal fentanyl dosage in patients with acute allergic rhinitis, particularly during nasal decongestant therapy

Neuroleptics/tranquilizers

Decreased pulmonary arterial pressure may occur

Hypotension or hypertension may occur

May interfere with postoperative EEG monitoring (slow return to normal)

Risk of profound sedation, respiratory depression, coma, or death

Use concomitantly only if alternative treatment options are inadequate; use lowest effective dosages and shortest possible duration of concomitant therapy

In patients receiving fentanyl, initiate neuroleptic/tranquilizer, if required, at lower dosage than indicated in the absence of opiate therapy and titrate based on clinical response

In patients receiving a neuroleptic/tranquilizer, initiate fentanyl, if required, at reduced dosage and titrate based on clinical response

Monitor closely for respiratory depression and sedation

Consider potential for decreased pulmonary arterial pressure when performing diagnostic or surgical procedures where interpretation of such measurements might determine patient management

Parenteral fentanyl: If hypotension occurs, consider possibility of hypovolemia and manage as clinically appropriate (e.g., IV fluids, repositioning of patient to improve venous return, pressor therapy)

Initiate parenteral fentanyl for postoperative analgesia at reduced dosage and titrate based on clinical response; monitor closely for hypotension, respiratory depression, and sedation and ensure measures (e.g., fluids) to counteract hypotension are available

Neuromuscular blocking agents

Opiates may enhance neuromuscular blocking action

Monitor for increased respiratory depression and decrease dosage of one or both drugs as needed

Nevirapine

May decrease plasma fentanyl concentrations; possible reduced analgesic effect and/or withdrawal symptoms

Monitor for opiate withdrawal; consider dosage adjustments until drug effects are stable

If nevirapine is discontinued or dosage is decreased, monitor for increased opiate effects (e.g., respiratory depression ); adjust fentanyl dosage as necessary

Nitrous oxide

Cardiovascular depression at relatively high fentanyl dosages

Exercise caution during concomitant use

Opiate partial agonists (buprenorphine, butorphanol, nalbuphine, pentazocine)

Possible reduced analgesic effect and/or withdrawal symptoms

Avoid concomitant use

Phenytoin

May decrease plasma fentanyl concentrations; possible reduced analgesic effect and/or withdrawal symptoms

Monitor for opiate withdrawal; consider dosage adjustments until drug effects are stable

If phenytoin is discontinued or dosage is decreased, monitor for increased opiate effects (e.g., respiratory depression ); adjust fentanyl dosage as necessary

Pioglitazone

May decrease plasma fentanyl concentrations; possible reduced analgesic effect and/or withdrawal symptoms

Monitor for opiate withdrawal; consider dosage adjustments until drug effects are stable

If pioglitazone is discontinued or dosage is decreased, monitor for increased opiate effects (e.g., respiratory depression ); adjust fentanyl dosage as necessary

Rifabutin, rifampin

May decrease plasma fentanyl concentrations; possible reduced analgesic effect and/or withdrawal symptoms

Monitor for opiate withdrawal; consider dosage adjustments until drug effects are stable

If rifabutin or rifampin is discontinued or dosage is decreased, monitor for increased opiate effects (e.g., respiratory depression ); adjust fentanyl dosage as necessary

Sedative/hypnotic agents (e.g., butabarbital, eszopiclone, pentobarbital, ramelteon, secobarbital, suvorexant, zaleplon, zolpidem)

Risk of hypotension, profound sedation, respiratory depression, coma, or death

Parenteral fentanyl: Decreased pulmonary arterial pressure also may occur

Use concomitantly only if alternative treatment options are inadequate; use lowest effective dosages and shortest possible duration of concomitant therapy

In patients receiving fentanyl, initiate sedative/hypnotic, if required, at lower dosage than indicated in the absence of opiate therapy and titrate based on clinical response

In patients receiving a sedative/hypnotic, initiate fentanyl, if required, at reduced dosage and titrate based on clinical response

Monitor closely for respiratory depression and sedation

Consider potential for decreased pulmonary arterial pressure when performing diagnostic or surgical procedures where interpretation of such measurements might determine patient management

Parenteral fentanyl: If hypotension occurs, consider possibility of hypovolemia and manage as clinically appropriate (e.g., IV fluids, repositioning of patient to improve venous return, pressor therapy)

Initiate parenteral fentanyl for postoperative analgesia at reduced dosage and titrate based on clinical response; monitor closely for hypotension, respiratory depression, and sedation and ensure measures (e.g., fluids) to counteract hypotension are available

Skeletal muscle relaxants (e.g., baclofen, carisoprodol, chlorzoxazone, cyclobenzaprine, dantrolene, metaxalone, methocarbamol, orphenadrine, tizanidine)

Risk of hypotension, profound sedation, respiratory depression, coma, or death

Parenteral fentanyl: Decreased pulmonary arterial pressure also may occur

Cyclobenzaprine: Risk of serotonin syndrome

Use concomitantly only if alternative treatment options are inadequate; use lowest effective dosages and shortest possible duration of concomitant therapy

In patients receiving fentanyl, initiate skeletal muscle relaxant, if required, at lower dosage than indicated in the absence of opiate therapy and titrate based on clinical response

In patients receiving a skeletal muscle relaxant, initiate fentanyl, if required, at reduced dosage and titrate based on clinical response

Monitor closely for respiratory depression and sedation

Consider potential for decreased pulmonary arterial pressure when performing diagnostic or surgical procedures where interpretation of such measurements might determine patient management

Parenteral fentanyl: If hypotension occurs, consider possibility of hypovolemia and manage as clinically appropriate (e.g., IV fluids, repositioning of patient to improve venous return, pressor therapy)

Initiate parenteral fentanyl for postoperative analgesia at reduced dosage and titrate based on clinical response; monitor closely for hypotension, respiratory depression, and sedation and ensure measures (e.g., fluids) to counteract hypotension are available

Cyclobenzaprine: If concomitant use warranted, monitor for serotonin syndrome, particularly during initiation of therapy and dosage increases

If serotonin syndrome suspected, discontinue fentanyl, cyclobenzaprine, and/or any concurrently administered opiates or serotonergic agents

St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum)

May decrease plasma fentanyl concentrations; possible reduced analgesic effect and/or withdrawal symptoms

Risk of serotonin syndrome

Monitor for opiate withdrawal; consider dosage adjustments until drug effects are stable

If St. John's wort is discontinued or dosage is decreased, monitor for increased opiate effects (e.g., respiratory depression ); adjust fentanyl dosage as necessary

If concomitant use warranted, monitor for serotonin syndrome, particularly during initiation of therapy and dosage increases

If serotonin syndrome suspected, discontinue fentanyl, St. John’s wort, and/or any concurrently administered opiates or serotonergic agents

Tryptophan

Risk of serotonin syndrome

If concomitant use warranted, monitor for serotonin syndrome, particularly during initiation of therapy and dosage increases

If serotonin syndrome suspected, discontinue fentanyl, tryptophan, and/or any concurrently administered opiates or serotonergic agents

fentaNYL Pharmacokinetics

Absorption

Bioavailability

Well absorbed percutaneously following topical application of fentanyl transdermal system and transmucosally following administration as buccal lozenge, buccal tablet, sublingual tablet, sublingual spray, or nasal spray.

Substantial pharmacokinetic differences exist among the transmucosal immediate-release fentanyl preparations (buccal lozenges, buccal tablets, sublingual tablets, sublingual spray, nasal spray); these preparations must not be substituted on a mcg-for-mcg basis. (See Clinically Important Pharmacokinetic Differences Among Fentanyl Formulations under Cautions.)

Buccal lozenge: Bioavailability averages about 50%. Generally, approximately 25% absorbed rapidly from the buccal mucosa and the remaining portion is swallowed with saliva and then absorbed slowly from the GI tract.

Buccal tablet: Bioavailability averages about 65%. Generally, approximately 50% absorbed rapidly from the buccal mucosa and the remaining portion is swallowed with saliva and then absorbed slowly from the GI tract. The time required for the buccal tablet to fully disintegrate does not appear to affect early systemic drug exposure. Time to peak plasma concentration and AUC are similar following either sublingual or intrabuccal administration of the buccal tablet.

Buccal lozenge versus buccal tablet: When administered as a buccal tablet rather than a buccal lozenge, a larger fraction of the administered dose is absorbed transmucosally (48% versus 22%), peak plasma concentration is achieved earlier (47 versus 91 minutes), and systemic exposure is approximately 30–50% greater.

Sublingual tablet: Estimated bioavailability is 54%. When administered at equivalent doses, multiple lower-strength sublingual tablets are bioequivalent to a single higher-strength sublingual tablet. Absorbed mainly from oral mucosa. Median time to peak plasma concentration is 30–60 minutes.

Sublingual spray: Mean absolute bioavailability is 76%. Pharmacokinetic profile and bioavailability depend on the relative fractions of the dose that are absorbed from the sublingual mucosa and the GI tract. Median time to peak plasma concentration is 0.7–1.3 hours. Under fasted conditions, peak plasma concentration and total exposure not appreciably affected by pretreatment of oral cavity with hot water or refrigerated iced water or by beverages with either low or high pH.

Sublingual spray versus buccal lozenge: When administered as sublingual spray rather than buccal lozenge, peak plasma concentration was 34% higher, AUC was 38% greater, and peak plasma concentration occurred earlier (median of 1.5 versus 2 hours).

Nasal spray: Absorbed from the nasal mucosa. Median time to peak plasma concentration is 15–21 minutes.

Nasal spray versus buccal lozenge: Nasal spray is approximately 20% more bioavailable than buccal lozenges; peak concentration with nasal spray is higher and occurs earlier (median of 15 minutes versus 1.5 hours) after administration.

When consecutive doses of nasal spray were administered in the same nostril at intervals of 1, 2, or 4 hours, the peak plasma concentration after the second dose exceeded the peak plasma concentration after the first dose by 30, 25, or 10%, respectively. An interval of 2 hours between doses is recommended based on these data, time to peak plasma concentration, and frequency of breakthrough cancer pain.

Allergic rhinitis does not substantially alter rate or extent of exposure of nasally administered fentanyl, but use of nasal decongestants for allergic rhinitis may alter exposure. (See Specific Drugs and Foods under Interactions.)

Fentanyl transdermal systems: Amount of fentanyl released from the system is proportional to the surface area of the system; however, actual amount of drug delivered to the skin exhibits interindividual variation. Peak concentration attained within 20–72 hours after initial application. Serum concentrations increase with the first 2 transdermal system applications; steady state is reached by the end of the second 72-hour application and is maintained during continued use at the same dosage.

Application of heat over the transdermal system increases mean exposure and peak plasma concentrations by 120 and 61%, respectively.

Following use of fentanyl transdermal system in non-opiate-tolerant children, plasma fentanyl concentrations in children 1.5–5 years of age were about twice the concentrations achieved in adults; however, pharmacokinetic parameters in older children were similar to those in adults.

Onset

IV administration: Rapid, with peak analgesia occurring within several minutes.

IM administration: About 7–15 minutes.

Intrabuccal administration (tablet): About 10 minutes.

Duration

IV administration, analgesia: 0.5–1 hours.

IM administration, analgesia: 1–2 hours.

Respiratory depressant effects may persist longer than analgesia.

Special Populations

Buccal tablets in patients with mucositis: Presence of grade 1 mucositis does not appear to substantially alter absorption.

Sublingual spray in patients with mucositis: In those with grade 1 mucositis, peak plasma concentration and AUC increased by 73 and 52%, respectively, compared with patients without mucositis. In 2 patients with grade 2 mucositis, peak plasma concentrations increased fourfold and sevenfold and AUC increased threefold or more.

Pharmacokinetics of fentanyl transdermal system in healthy Caucasian adults ≥65 years of age generally similar to that in adults 18–45 years of age; mean peak plasma concentration about 8% lower, AUC about 7% greater, and interindividual variability in AUC greater (58 versus 37%) in geriatric individuals compared with younger adults.

In patients with cirrhosis, peak plasma concentration and AUC increased by 35 and 73%, respectively, compared with values in control patients after application of fentanyl transdermal system.

Distribution

Extent

Fentanyl is highly lipophilic.

Distributes rapidly from blood into the brain, heart, lungs, kidneys, and spleen in animals; then redistributes more slowly into skeletal muscle and fat compartments; then redistributes slowly from these tissues into systemic circulation.

Large single or repeated doses can result in substantial accumulation, potentially resulting in an extended duration of effect.

Fentanyl crosses the placenta and is distributed into breast milk.

Plasma Protein Binding

80–85% bound, principally to α1-acid glycoprotein but also to albumin, lipoproteins, and RBCs.

Alterations in blood pH may alter ionization of fentanyl and therefore its distribution between plasma and the CNS. The free drug fraction in plasma increases with acidosis.

Elimination

Metabolism

Metabolized extensively in the liver and the intestinal mucosa via CYP3A4 to norfentanyl (inactive metabolite); also undergoes hydrolysis.

Transdermally administered fentanyl does not appear to be metabolized in the skin.

Elimination Route

Principally in the urine, as inactive metabolites and to a lesser extent (<10%) as unchanged drug.

Half-life

Buccal lozenges: Mean half-life of about 3.2–6.4 hours; terminal half-life of about 7 hours also reported.

Buccal tablets: Median half-life of about 2.6–11.7 hours.

Sublingual tablets: Mean half-life of 5–13.5 hours.

Sublingual spray: Mean half-life of 5.3–12 hours.

Nasal spray: Mean half-life of 15–25 hours (versus 18.6 hours with buccal lozenge).

Fentanyl transdermal system: About 20–27 hours.

Special Populations

In geriatric patients, clearance may be decreased and half-life increased.

Pharmacokinetics of fentanyl transdermal system in healthy Caucasian adults ≥65 years of age generally similar to that in adults 18–45 years of age, but mean half-life is longer in geriatric individuals (34.4 versus 23.5 hours).

Stability

Storage

Store in a secure place to prevent access by children and pets. Properly dispose of used or partially used dosage forms immediately after use.

Properly dispose of any unused dosage forms as soon as they are no longer needed. Patients and/or caregivers may contact the respective manufacturer or local Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) office if they need assistance with disposal.

Intrabuccal

Buccal Lozenges

20–25°C (may be exposed to 15–30°C). Protect from freezing and moisture. Administer immediately after removal from blister package.

To dispose of lozenges that are no longer needed, manufacturers recommend removing the lozenges from their blister packages using scissors, then cutting the drug matrix from the handles with wire-cutting pliers over a toilet bowl and flushing them twice down the toilet. Do not flush handles down the toilet.

After consumption of a lozenge is complete and the lozenge matrix is totally dissolved, discard the handle in a trash container that is out of reach of children; remove any drug matrix remaining on the handle by placing the handle under hot running tap water until the drug matrix is completely dissolved.

If unused portions cannot be disposed of immediately, store the partially used lozenge in a temporary storage bottle (supplied by the manufacturer) according to manufacturer's instructions and dispose of these units at least once a day.

Buccal Tablets

20–25°C (may be exposed to 15–30°C). Protect from freezing and moisture. Administer immediately after removal from blister package; do not store for use at a later time since tablet integrity may be compromised or accidental exposure may occur.

To dispose of tablets that are no longer needed, manufacturer recommends removing the tablets from their blister packages and flushing them down the toilet.

Intranasal

Nasal Solution

Up to 25°C; protect from light; do not freeze. Store nasal spray bottle in child-resistant container between uses; store pouch used for disposal of priming sprays, unwanted doses, and residual nasal solution in the cardboard carton.

To dispose of unused, fully used, or partially used bottles of nasal spray that are no longer needed, empty bottle completely of accessible drug by spraying the remaining contents into the disposal pouch provided by the manufacturer and placing the emptied bottle and sealed pouch in the child-resistant container (also provided by manufacturer) prior to disposal. Consult patient instructions in the medication guide for additional information about disposal.

Parenteral

Injection

15–30°C (may be exposed to up to 40°C); protect from light.

Sublingual

Sublingual Spray

20–25°C (may be exposed to 15–30°C). Administer immediately after removal from the individually sealed blister package; do not use if the blister package was previously opened or tampered with. Child safety kit containing a portable carrying case, a lock for the bag, and safety latches for securing storage spaces in the home can be requested from the manufacturer.

To dispose of unused units of fentanyl sublingual spray that are no longer needed, empty the units by spraying the contents into a charcoal-lined disposal pouch provided by the manufacturer; seal the pouch and place it and the emptied spray units in disposal bags (also provided by manufacturer); seal bags prior to disposal.

To dispose of used spray units, place unit in a disposal bag provided by the manufacturer and seal bag prior to disposal.

Consult the patient instructions in the medication guide for additional information about disposal.

Sublingual Tablets

20–25°C (may be exposed to 15–30°C); protect from moisture. Administer immediately after removal from individually sealed blister package; do not use if blister package was previously opened or tampered with.

To dispose of tablets that are no longer needed, manufacturer recommends removing the tablets from their blister packages and flushing them down the toilet.

Topical

Fentanyl Transdermal Systems

Room temperature. Apply the system to the skin immediately after removal from the individually sealed package; discard if the seal was previously broken or the system has been cut, damaged, or altered in any way.

To dispose of unused fentanyl transdermal systems that are no longer needed, the manufacturers recommend removing the systems from their packaging, folding them carefully so that the adhesive side adheres to itself, and then flushing them down the toilet.

To dispose of used system, fold the system so that the adhesive side adheres to itself and then flush system down the toilet.

Compatibility

For information on systemic interactions resulting from concomitant use, see Interactions.

Parenteral

Hydrolyzed in acidic solutions.

Solution CompatibilityHID

Compatible

Dextrose 5% in water

Sodium chloride 0.9%

Drug Compatibility
Admixture CompatibilityHID

Compatible

Bupivacaine HCl

Clonidine HCl

Droperidol with Ketamine HCl

Epinephrine bitartrate

Epinephrine HCl

Ropivacaine HCl

Ziconotide acetate

Incompatible

Fluorouracil

Variable

Lidocaine HCl

Y-Site CompatibilityHID

Compatible

Abciximab

Acetaminophen

Acyclovir sodium

Alprostadil

Amiodarone HCl

Amphotericin B cholesteryl sulfate complex

Anidulafungin

Argatroban

Atracurium besylate

Atropine sulfate

Bivalirudin

Caffeine citrate

Caspofungin acetate

Ceftaroline fosamil

Cisatracurium besylate

Clonidine HCl

Dexamethasone sodium phosphate

Dexmedetomidine HCl

Diazepam

Diltiazem HCl

Diphenhydramine HCl

Dobutamine HCl

Dopamine HCl

Doripenem

Doxapram HCl

Enalaprilat

Epinephrine HCl

Esmolol HCl

Etomidate

Fenoldopam mesylate

Furosemide

Haloperidol lactate

Heparin sodium

Hetastarch in lactated electrolyte injection

Hydrocortisone sodium succinate

Hydromorphone HCl

Hydroxyethyl starch 130/0.4 in sodium chloride 0.9%

Hydroxyzine HCl

Ketorolac tromethamine

Labetalol HCl

Lansoprazole

Levofloxacin

Linezolid

Lorazepam

Metoclopramide HCl

Midazolam HCl

Milrinone lactate

Morphine sulfate

Nafcillin sodium

Nesiritide

Nicardipine HCl

Nitroglycerin

Norepinephrine bitartrate

Oritavancin diphosphate

Oxaliplatin

Palonosetron HCl

Pancuronium bromide

Phenobarbital sodium

Posaconazole

Potassium chloride

Propofol

Ranitidine HCl

Remifentanil HCl

Sargramostim

Scopolamine HBr

Vecuronium bromide

Incompatible

Azithromycin

Phenytoin sodium

Actions

  • A potent analgesic; shares the actions of the opiate agonists.

  • Opiate agonists alter perception of and emotional response to pain.

  • Precise mechanism of action has not been fully elucidated; opiate agonists act at several CNS sites, involving several neurotransmitter systems to produce analgesia.

  • Pain perception is altered in the spinal cord and higher CNS levels (e.g., substantia gelatinosa, spinal trigeminal nucleus, periaqueductal gray, periventricular gray, medullary raphe nuclei, hypothalamus).

  • Opiate agonists do not alter the threshold or responsiveness of afferent nerve endings to noxious stimuli, nor peripheral nerve impulse conduction.

  • Opiate agonists act at specific receptor binding sites in the CNS and other tissues; opiate receptors are concentrated in the limbic system, thalamus, striatum, hypothalamus, midbrain, and spinal cord.

  • Agonist activity at the opiate μ- or κ-receptor can result in analgesia, miosis, and/or decreased body temperature.

  • Agonist activity at the μ-receptor can also result in suppression of opiate withdrawal (and antagonist activity can result in precipitation of withdrawal).

  • Respiratory depression may be mediated by μ-receptors, possibly μ2-receptors (which may be distinct from μ1-receptors involved in analgesia); κ- and δ-receptors may also be involved in respiratory depression.

  • In equivalent analgesic doses, fentanyl is similar to morphine and meperidine in its respiratory effects except that respiration of healthy individuals returns to normal more quickly after fentanyl than after either of the other drugs.

  • Exhibits little hypnotic activity, and histamine release rarely occurs.

Advice to Patients

  • Provide manufacturer’s patient information (e.g., medication guide) to the patient each time fentanyl transdermal system or transmucosal immediate-release preparations (buccal lozenges, buccal tablets, sublingual tablets, sublingual spray, nasal spray) of the drug are dispensed.

  • Risk of respiratory depression; most likely to occur following initiation of therapy or an increase in dosage; may occur at recommended dosages. Importance of seeking immediate medical attention if signs or symptoms of respiratory depression (e.g., difficulty breathing; slow, shallow breathing; extreme drowsiness with slowed breathing; feelings of faintness, dizziness, or confusion) occur. Advise patients of the benefits of naloxone following opiate overdose and of their options for obtaining the drug.

  • Importance of informing patients that fentanyl is a drug of abuse. Instruct patients to keep fentanyl in a secure place to prevent theft or misuse in the home or workplace. Risk of severe or fatal respiratory depression if fentanyl preparations are misused or used in individuals for whom the drug was not prescribed.

  • Strongly warn patients and/or caregivers to keep new, used, and partially used preparations in a secure location out of the reach of children and to strictly adhere to instructions for storage, handling, and disposal of unused and partially or fully used fentanyl preparations. (See Administration under Dosage and Administration and also see Storage under Stability.) Specifically question patients and/or caregivers about the presence of children in the patient’s home on a full-time or visiting basis.

  • Importance of adhering to prescribed dosage and instructions for administration.

  • Importance of informing clinician if pain control is inadequate or adverse effects (e.g., constipation) occur, so that therapy may be adjusted based on individual requirements.

  • Risk of potentially fatal additive effects (e.g., profound sedation, respiratory depression, coma) if used concomitantly with benzodiazepines or other CNS depressants, including alcohol and other opiates, either therapeutically or illicitly; importance of informing patients that fentanyl should not be combined with alcohol and should not be used concomitantly with other CNS depressants (e.g., sedatives/hypnotics, tranquilizers) unless such use is supervised by clinician.

  • Potential risk of serotonin syndrome with concurrent use of fentanyl and other serotonergic agents. Importance of immediately contacting clinician if manifestations of serotonin syndrome (e.g., agitation, hallucinations, tachycardia, labile BP, fever, excessive sweating, shivering, shaking, muscle stiffness, twitching, loss of coordination, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea) develop.

  • Potential risk of adrenal insufficiency. Importance of contacting clinician if manifestations of adrenal insufficiency (e.g., nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, fatigue, weakness, dizziness, hypotension) develop.

  • Potential for fentanyl to impair mental and/or physical ability required for performance of potentially hazardous tasks; avoid driving or operating heavy machinery until effects on individual are known.

  • Possible risk (although causality not established) of hypogonadism or androgen deficiency with long-term opiate agonist or partial agonist use. Importance of informing clinician if decreased libido, impotence, erectile dysfunction, amenorrhea, or infertility occurs.

  • Importance of informing clinicians of existing or contemplated concomitant therapy, including prescription and OTC drugs, as well as any concomitant illnesses.

  • Importance of women informing clinicians if they are or plan to become pregnant or plan to breast-feed. Importance of informing women that long-term use during pregnancy may result in neonatal opiate withdrawal syndrome, which can be life-threatening if not recognized and treated.

  • Potential for severe constipation to occur.

  • Importance of not abruptly discontinuing fentanyl following prolonged opiate therapy.

  • Importance of informing patients of other important precautionary information. (See Cautions.)

    Transmucosal Immediate-release Fentanyl Preparations
  • Importance of understanding the requirements of the TIRF REMS Access program and of signing the patient-prescriber agreement mandated by the program. (See TIRF REMS Restricted Distribution Program under Dosage and Administration.)

  • Importance of using transmucosal immediate-release preparations (buccal lozenges, buccal tablets, sublingual tablets, sublingual spray, nasal spray) exactly as prescribed and only if opiate tolerant. Importance of not using these preparations for acute, postoperative, or short-term pain. Advise patients that if around-the-clock therapy with opiate analgesics is discontinued, they must stop taking transmucosal immediate-release fentanyl preparations for management of breakthrough pain.

  • One transmucosal immediate-release preparation must not be substituted for another such preparation or for any other fentanyl preparation without consulting a clinician.

  • Importance of having only one dosage strength available at any given time to minimize risk of dosage errors.

  • Provide a child safety kit (available from manufacturer) to patients receiving fentanyl sublingual spray or buccal lozenges.

  • Instruct patients to inform their dentist that they are receiving fentanyl citrate buccal lozenges, so that appropriate dental care is provided.

  • Advise patients with diabetes mellitus that fentanyl citrate buccal lozenges contain approximately 2 g of sugar per lozenge.

  • Inform patients and/or caregivers that transmucosal immediate-release preparations contain sufficient amounts of fentanyl to be fatal to a child. High risk of respiratory depression if a child accidentally ingests these preparations.

  • Importance of seeking immediate medical treatment if a child, non-opiate-tolerant adult, or anyone other than the patient ingests a transmucosal immediate-release formulation.

    Fentanyl Transdermal Systems
  • Importance of using transdermal systems exactly as prescribed and only if opiate tolerant.

  • Inform patients and/or their caregivers that transdermal systems contain sufficient amounts of fentanyl to be fatal to a child. Fatal respiratory depression can occur if a transdermal system is accidentally or deliberately applied or ingested by a child or adolescent; choking can occur if the system is ingested. Instruct patients to take special precautions to avoid accidental contact (e.g., system transfer) when holding or caring for children.

  • Importance of not using transdermal systems that have been altered in any way (e.g., cut, damaged, folded so that only part of the system is exposed).

  • If accidental exposure occurs, remove the system (if system transfer has occurred) and wash the exposed area with water. Seek immediate medical attention.

  • Advise patients to avoid strenuous exertion that can increase core body temperature and to avoid exposing the application site or surrounding area to direct external heat sources (e.g., heating pads, electric blankets, heat or tanning lamps, saunas, hot tubs, hot baths, heated water beds, sunbathing) while wearing the transdermal system since temperature-dependent increases in percutaneous absorption of fentanyl from the system are possible under such conditions. Importance of contacting clinician if a high fever occurs during transdermal fentanyl therapy.

Preparations

Excipients in commercially available drug preparations may have clinically important effects in some individuals; consult specific product labeling for details.

Please refer to the ASHP Drug Shortages Resource Center for information on shortages of one or more of these preparations.

Subject to control under the Federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970 as schedule II (C-II) drugs.

Distribution of transmucosal immediate-release fentanyl and fentanyl citrate preparations is restricted. (See General under Dosage and Administration.)

* available from one or more manufacturer, distributor, and/or repackager by generic (nonproprietary) name

fentaNYL

Routes

Dosage Forms

Strengths

Brand Names

Manufacturer

Sublingual

Solution

100 mcg

Subsys (C-II; with charcoal-lined disposal pouches and disposal bags)

Insys

200 mcg

Subsys ( C-II; with charcoal-lined disposal pouches and disposal bags)

Insys

400 mcg

Subsys ( C-II; with charcoal-lined disposal pouches and disposal bags)

Insys

600 mcg

Subsys ( C-II; with charcoal-lined disposal pouches and disposal bags)

Insys

800 mcg

Subsys ( C-II; with charcoal-lined disposal pouches and disposal bags)

Insys

1200 mcg

Subsys ( C-II; supplied as two 600-mcg units, with charcoal-lined disposal pouches and disposal bags)

Insys

1600 mcg

Subsys ( C-II; supplied as two 800-mcg units, with charcoal-lined disposal pouches and disposal bags)

Insys

Topical

Transdermal System

12.5 mcg/hour (total fentanyl content and transdermal system size may vary by manufacturer)*

Duragesic ( C-II)

Janssen

fentaNYL Transdermal System ( C-II)

25 mcg/hour (total fentanyl content and transdermal system size may vary by manufacturer)*

Duragesic ( C-II)

Janssen

fentaNYL Transdermal System ( C-II)

50 mcg/hour (total fentanyl content and transdermal system size may vary by manufacturer)*

Duragesic ( C-II)

Janssen

fentaNYL Transdermal System ( C-II)

75 mcg/hour (total fentanyl content and transdermal system size may vary by manufacturer)*

Duragesic ( C-II)

Janssen

fentaNYL Transdermal System ( C-II)

100 mcg/hour (total fentanyl content and transdermal system size may vary by manufacturer)*

Duragesic ( C-II)

Janssen

fentaNYL Transdermal System ( C-II)

* available from one or more manufacturer, distributor, and/or repackager by generic (nonproprietary) name

fentaNYL Citrate

Routes

Dosage Forms

Strengths

Brand Names

Manufacturer

Buccal (Transmucosal)

Lozenge (solid drug matrix on a handle)

200 mcg (of fentanyl)*

Actiq ( C-II)

Cephalon

Oral Transmucosal fentaNYL Citrate ( C-II)

400 mcg (of fentanyl)*

Actiq ( C-II)

Cephalon

Oral Transmucosal fentaNYL Citrate ( C-II)

600 mcg (of fentanyl)*

Actiq ( C-II)

Cephalon

Oral Transmucosal fentaNYL Citrate ( C-II)

800 mcg (of fentanyl)*

Actiq ( C-II)

Cephalon

Oral Transmucosal fentaNYL Citrate ( C-II)

1200 mcg (of fentanyl)*

Actiq ( C-II)

Cephalon

Oral Transmucosal fentaNYL Citrate ( C-II)

1600 mcg (of fentanyl)*

Actiq ( C-II)

Cephalon

Oral Transmucosal fentaNYL Citrate ( C-II)

Tablet

100 mcg (of fentanyl)

Fentora ( C-II)

Teva

200 mcg (of fentanyl)

Fentora ( C-II)

Teva

400 mcg (of fentanyl)

Fentora ( C-II)

Teva

600 mcg (of fentanyl)

Fentora ( C-II)

Teva

800 mcg (of fentanyl)

Fentora ( C-II)

Teva

Nasal

Solution

100 mcg (of fentanyl) per metered spray

Lazanda ( C-II; with carbon-lined disposal pouch)

Depomed

300 mcg (of fentanyl) per metered spray

Lazanda ( C-II; with carbon-lined disposal pouch)

Depomed

400 mcg (of fentanyl) per metered spray

Lazanda ( C-II; with carbon-lined disposal pouch)

Depomed

Parenteral

Injection

50 mcg (of fentanyl) per mL*

fentaNYL Citrate Injection ( C-II)

Sublimaze ( C-II)

Taylor

Sublingual

Tablet

100 mcg (of fentanyl)

Abstral ( C-II)

Galena

200 mcg (of fentanyl)

Abstral ( C-II)

Galena

300 mcg (of fentanyl)

Abstral ( C-II)

Galena

400 mcg (of fentanyl)

Abstral ( C-II)

Galena

600 mcg (of fentanyl)

Abstral ( C-II)

Galena

800 mcg (of fentanyl)

Abstral ( C-II)

Galena

AHFS DI Essentials™. © Copyright 2022, Selected Revisions September 13, 2021. American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 4500 East-West Highway, Suite 900, Bethesda, Maryland 20814.

† Use is not currently included in the labeling approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.

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