It is very important that your doctor check your or your child's progress while you are using this medicine. This will allow your doctor to see if the medicine is working properly and to decide if you should continue to take it.
Do not touch the sticky side of the patch or the gel. Fentanyl can be quickly absorbed through the eyes and mouth and can be extremely dangerous. If you do touch the sticky side of the patch or gel, let your nurse or doctor know right away and rinse the area with large amounts of water. Do not use soaps or other cleansers.
Check with your doctor at regular times while using fentanyl. Be sure to report any side effects.
After you have been using this medicine for awhile, "breakthrough" pain may occur more often than usual, and it may not be relieved by your regular dose of medicine. If this occurs, do not increase the amount of fentanyl transdermal or other narcotic that you or your child are using without first checking with your doctor.
This medicine will add to the effects of alcohol and other CNS depressants (medicines that can make you drowsy or less alert). Some examples of CNS depressants are antihistamines or medicine for hay fever, other allergies, or colds, sedatives, tranquilizers, or sleeping medicine, other prescription pain medicine or narcotics, medicine for seizures or barbiturates, muscle relaxants, or anesthetics, including some dental anesthetics. You will probably be directed to take other pain relievers if you still have pain while using transdermal fentanyl. Check with your doctor before taking any of the other medicines listed above while you or your child are using this medicine.
Fentanyl may cause some people to become drowsy, dizzy, or lightheaded, or to feel a false sense of well-being. Make sure you know how you react to this medicine before you drive, use machines, or do anything else that could be dangerous if you are dizzy or not alert and clearheaded. These effects usually go away after a few days of treatment, when your body gets used to the medicine. However, check with your doctor if drowsiness that is severe enough to interfere with your activities continues for more than a few days.
Dizziness, lightheadedness, or even fainting may occur when you get up suddenly from a lying or sitting position. Getting up slowly may help lessen this problem. Also, lying down for a while may relieve dizziness or lightheadedness.
Nausea or vomiting may occur, especially during the first several days of treatment. Lying down for a while may relieve these effects. However, if they are especially bothersome or if they continue for more than a few days, check with your doctor. You may be able to take another medicine to help prevent these problems.
Using narcotics for a long time may cause severe constipation. To prevent this, your doctor may direct you to take laxatives, drink a lot of fluids, or increase the amount of fiber in your diet. Be sure to follow the directions carefully, because continuing constipation can lead to more serious problems.
Heat can cause the fentanyl in the patch to be absorbed into your body faster. This may increase the chance of serious side effects or an overdose. While you are using this medicine, do not use a heating pad, electric blanket, heat or tanning lamps, sauna, a sunlamp, or a heated water bed, and do not sunbathe, or take long baths or showers in hot water. Also, check with your doctor if you get a fever.
Be careful about letting other people come in contact with your patch. The patch could stick to someone else, such as when you hug them or if someone helps you put the patch on. If any medicine gets on another person, wash it off right away with clear water.
Before having any kind of surgery (including dental surgery) or emergency treatment, tell the medical doctor or dentist-in-charge that you are using this medicine. Serious side effects can occur if your medical doctor or dentist gives you certain other medicines without knowing that you are using fentanyl.
You may bathe, shower, or swim while wearing a fentanyl skin patch. However, be careful to wash and dry the area around the patch gently. Rubbing may cause the patch to get loose or come off. If this does occur, throw away the patch and apply a new one in a different place. Make sure the area is completely dry before applying the new patch.
If you have been using this medicine regularly for several weeks or more, do not suddenly stop using it without first checking with your doctor. You may be directed to gradually reduce the amount you are using before stopping treatment completely, or to take another narcotic for a while, to lessen the chance of withdrawal side effects.
Using too much transdermal fentanyl, or taking too much of another narcotic while using transdermal fentanyl, may cause an overdose. If this occurs, get emergency help right away. An overdose can cause severe breathing problems (breathing may even stop), unconsciousness, and death. Serious signs of an overdose include very slow breathing (fewer than 8 breaths a minute) and drowsiness that is so severe that you are not able to answer when spoken to or, if asleep, cannot be awakened. Other signs of an overdose may include cold, clammy skin; low blood pressure; pinpoint pupils of eyes; and slow heartbeat. It may be best to have a family member or a friend check on you several times a day when you start using a narcotic regularly, and whenever your dose is increased, so that he or she can get help for you if you cannot do so yourself.
Do not use a fentanyl patch if you have taken a monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor in the previous 2 weeks. Some examples of MAO inhibitors are isocarboxazid (Marplan®), phenelzine (Nardil®), selegiline (Eldepryl®), and tranylcypromine (Parnate®). If you use the 2 medicines close together it may cause serious side effects like confusion, agitation, restlessness, stomach or intestinal symptoms, a sudden high temperature, an extremely high blood pressure, or severe convulsions.
Grapefruits and grapefruit juice may increase the effects of transdermal fentanyl by increasing the amount of the medicine in your body. You should not eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice while you are using this medicine.
Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.