The Fentanyl Transdermal System involves a skin patch that contains a prescription medication. It is a federally controlled substance (CII) because the pain medications contained within the patch are frequently abused by people that abuse other prescription medications or street drugs. The fentanyl skin patch is only for people with round the clock pain that is moderate to severe and expected to last for several weeks. The skin patch method of pain management should not be the first pain management system attempted. If you need pain medication following surgery, the skin patch is not for you. Other oral methods should be used for the short term treatment of pain.
The following are the serious risks associated with using the fentanyl transdermal system. They include breathing difficulties, physical dependence, addiction, and a drop in blood pressure. The more common side effects of the fentanyl transdermal system are nausea, vomiting, constipation, drymouth, sleepiness, confusion, weakness, and sweating. In children, although they were uncommon, trouble sleeping and seizures were reported.
Before using the fentanyl transdermal system you should tell your doctor if you have had difficulty breathing or lung problems, a head injury or brain problems, liver or kidney problems, a heart problem that involves a heart beat that is too slow, seizures, gallbladder problems, low thyroid, low blood pressure, problems urinating, major depression, hallucinations, or use heating surfaces.
As of February 2005, the FDA was looking into reports of death or overdose due to the fentanyl transdermal system. They are currently saying that if the directions on the patient insert are followed to the letter, overdoses should not occur. It is only when some parts of instructions (such as avoiding heating products like heated blankets) are ignored that problems occur.