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If you have developed a tolerance for opioids or other narcotics and you need pain relief, you are probably going to be given the skin patch form of Fentanyl to help avoid the risks of oral pain medications.
The transdermal patch works differently, but it is supposed to achieve the same pain-relieving effect. It is commonly prescribed for those who are struggling with severe pain. This includes cancer pain, post-surgical pain, and traumatic pain, among others.
Of course, your doctor will be the one to decide which dose of the patch is appropriate for your condition. They may also adjust the dose as needed.
In any case, you’re gonna want to learn how to use the Fentanyl patch properly. Understanding the basic rules of Fentanyl usage can help prevent addiction, abuse, and misuse of this very potent drug.
What to Keep in Mind
Only use this medicine as directed by your doctor. This is an opioid medication, so just like any other opioid, it can be quite addictive when taken in large doses. Do not take more than you are supposed to, do not use it more often, and do not use it for longer than is required.
Elderly patients, in particular, tend to be more sensitive to the effects of pain medicines. Too much of it and you may discover its habit-forming properties.
Patients receive the Fentanyl patch while at the hospital. The nurse or doctor should give you instructions on how to use it. They may even demonstrate proper usage.
As a transdermal patch, this medication is only to be used on skin that is not injured or irritated. It goes without saying you should not chew, swallow, or put the Fentanyl patch in your mouth.
Do not remove the patch from the sealed pouch until you are ready to apply it.
How to Use the Fentanyl Patch
The drug will only work if it has been applied correctly. So the first step is to decide where to place the new patch. Your doctor’s instructions and the drug’s label or package insert should give you the information you need, but generally speaking, Fentanyl patches should be applied to the upper chest, lower abdomen, hip, back, or the upper, outer arm.
Apply the patch to a dry, flat skin area that is not very oily and is free of scars, cuts, burns, or irritation. Those who have gone through radiation treatment should not apply the transdermal patch in the areas that received the treatment.
Be careful not to touch the adhesive surface with your hand because your skin may absorb the Fentanyl too fast. If you do touch it accidentally, rinse with clear water and do not use soap.
If you need to clean the area before applying the patch, make sure you only use plain water. Dry the skin completely before applying for the medicine.
Remove the liner covering the sticky side of the skin patch and then press the patch firmly in place for a minimum of 30 seconds. Make sure that the entire adhesive surface is attached to your skin, including the edges.
If the patch falls off after applying it, throw it away and apply a new patch in a different area. For those who need to apply more than 1 patch at a time, place the patches far enough apart so that the edges don’t touch or overlap one another.
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Wash your hands with clear water after applying the Fentanyl patch. Again, do not use soap or other cleansers. Remove the patch after 3 days, or as directed by your doctor. If you need to apply the next patch, choose a different place on your skin. Wait at least 3 days before using the first area again.
Fentanyl happens to be a very potent drug. If you misuse it, you can experience its side effects. And this drug is highly addictive. Do not hesitate to contact your doctor if you have any other concerns.
And if you or someone you care about is struggling with opioid addiction, look for a drug rehab facility near you as soon as possible. With a combination of behavioral therapy and medical detox, they can get sober again.