Fentanyl Patch: Indications, Usage, Risk Factors, and Application Tips

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Fentanyl Pain Patch Indications and Usage

Duragesic is the brand name of the fentanyl transdermal pain patch. It is intended only for those over two years of age, with moderate-to-severe chronic pain, seeking continual pain management. This unique patch contains fentanyl, an opioid narcotic. The powerful medication is slowly absorbed through the skin, providing controlled pain relief for a period of up to 72 hours.

Risk Factors Associated with the Duragesic Transdermal Patch

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers the Duragesic patch a category C drug. It has the potential to pose harm to a fetus and inflict withdrawal symptoms or addiction in a breastfed child. Due to the risks involved, it is essential that patients inform their healthcare provider before using the patch, if they are thinking about becoming pregnant or are currently pregnant or breastfeeding.

There are known medications that interact with the transdermal patch, so patients should consult their healthcare provider and note all of the prescription and over-the-counter medications they are taking. The transdermal patch is not recommended for everyone.

Patients should not use fentanyl if any of the following apply:

  • Patients who are not opoid-tolerant
  • Patients who suffer from acute asthma or asthma-related symptoms
  • Patients who have non-chronic pain, such as pain from any dental or health-related procedures
  • Patients who require short-term treatment
  • Patients whose pain can be managed by other pain medications

The fentanyl pain patch should only be used when other medications are not alleviating the chronic pain, and it should always be used while under the care of a physician.

How to Use and Apply a Fentanyl Patch

Before using a transdermal fentanyl patch, patients should read all of the information and instructions that come with the prescription and follow the physician’s directions.

When a skin patch needs to be removed prior to the application of a new one, it should be folded in half, with the sticky side facing inward, and flushed down the toilet.

Steps for applying a fresh patch:

  1. Use water to clean the area of skin where the patch will be placed. Adequate drying time should be allotted prior to patch placement. Do not apply substances, such as lotions or soaps, to the area where the patch will be placed, as this could cause the skin to absorb more medication than necessary.
  2. The patch may be applied to hairless areas, such as the back, upper outer arms, or chest. It should never be applied to the same area twice in a row.
  3. Using the palm, apply firm pressure to the patch for a minimum of 30 seconds. All edges of the patch should be pressed against the skin.


The above information regarding the fentanyl (Duragesic) pain patch is for educational purposes only and should not replace the advice of a licensed health care provider.