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Fentanyl Patch

Drug Class: Commonly Known As: Category:
Opioid Adult

Fentanyl Patch - What is it for

Fentanyl patch is a medication used for the relief of chronic pain. The patch contains a reservoir of the medicine that is slowly released to provide round the clock pain control.

Fentanyl Patch - Side Effects, Precautions, and Contraindications

What side effects can Fentanyl Patch cause?

  • Nausea and vomiting can sometimes occur
  • Drowsiness and impaired judgment and/or coordination
  • Do not drive or operate heavy machinery if affected
  • Constipation and dryness of mouth may occur

Inform your doctor if any of the following occurs:

  • Allergic reactions such as skin rashes, facial swelling
  • Skin underneath patch becomes red and irritated
  • Shortness of breath
  • Slow or rapid heartbeat
  • Increased severity of side effects
  • Swelling of extremities
  • Inadequate pain relief
  • Do not adjust your dose without your doctor’s permission and supervision.

Before taking Fentanyl Patch, what precautions must I follow?

What food or medicine must I avoid when I take Fentanyl Patch?

Fentanyl Patch - Dosage and How to Use

How should Fentanyl Patch be used?

Paste the number of patches as prescribed by your doctor. Each patch lasts 72 hours and should be changed accordingly unless otherwise instructed by your doctor.

If half a patch is to be used, remove only one plastic backing and leave the other one intact during use. Do not cut the patch. Half the patch will be left dangling and may need to be secured by a waterproof plaster.

Steps for Administration

1) Choose a suitable site e.g. dry, flat surface of non-irradiated and non-irritated skin for patch application. Commonly used sites include the chest and upper arm.


Images taken and adapted from Mylan Technologies, Inc.

2) Prepare the application site by:

  • Gently cleansing with clear water. Avoid using any soap or alcohol as these may result in skin irritation.
  • Clipping off any hair if present, with scissors. Avoid using a shaver as this may result in skin irritation.

Images taken and adapted from Mylan Technologies, Inc.

3) Tear along the pre-cut edge to remove the patch. To avoid accidentally cutting the patch, do not use scissors to cut open the packet.

Images taken and adapted from Mylan Technologies, Inc.​

4) Peel off one side of the plastic backing first, taking care not to touch the adhesive. Apply the adhesive to the application site.

Images taken and adapted from Mylan Technologies, Inc.​

5) After the first half of the patch has been applied, remove the other plastic backing and smoothen out the patch onto the skin. Ensure that there are no air bubbles present.
6) Press the patch firmly in place with the palm of your hand and hold for about 30 seconds to ensure good adherence to the skin.
If adhesion of patch to skin is a problem, use an adhesive film dressing over the patch e.g. Tegaderm®

7) Remove the patch after 72 hours and apply a new patch to a different area of the skin.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, put on the missed patch as soon as you remember after taking off the old one.

What should I do if I overdose?

If you overdose on this medication, inform your doctor immediately.

Fentanyl Patch - Handling and Storage

How should I handle Fentanyl Patch safely?

Wash your hands with water after handling the patch each time.

How should I store Fentanyl Patch?

Keep away from children;#Keep in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight;#Store at room temperature;#

How should I dispose of Fentanyl Patch safely?

Prior to disposal, fold the used patch into half such that the adhesive sides stick together. This step prevents any person who happens to pick up the used patch from re-using it again.


Images taken and adapted from Mylan Technologies, Inc.​

For safe disposal of unused patches, please return to the dispensing pharmacy.

Fentanyl Patch - Additional Information

Keep the site of patch application away from heat sources e.g. heat pad, sauna as heat may cause you to absorb the medication faster than intended, potentially leading to an overdose.

Inform the doctor if you develop a fever (>38°C).

  • Updated on Thursday, October 12, 2017
  • This article is contributed by National Cancer Centre Singapore

The information provided is not intended as medical advice. Terms of use. Information provided by SingHealth


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