- Possible Side Effects of Fentanyl Patches
- Fentanyl Patches: Can They Cause Withdrawal and Overdose?
- How to Use Them Correctly
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Fentanyl is arguably the most potent opioid out there. As a powerful narcotic, it helps patients overcome intense amounts of pain. It is prescribed for patients who are struggling with cancer pain, post-surgical pain, and even traumatic pain.
While it is commonly taken as an oral medication, it also comes as a transdermal patch, which means it can be attached to the skin so that the drug will be absorbed in a controlled rate.
But just like any other medication, Fentanyl can have side effects. This becomes even more apparent if a person abuses the narcotic and takes it for recreational purposes. They can get addicted to Fentanyl and suffer from its health effects.
Now if you use your Fentanyl patches exactly as directed by your doctor, there’s a very low chance that it will cause any side effects. But these effects do occur every now and then, so it’s best to talk about them, just to be prepared.
Possible Side Effects of Fentanyl Patches
Many medications can cause side effects—they are merely unwanted responses to a medication when it is used in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe. Do take note that this is not a complete list of potential side effects. Also, just because it is listed here doesn’t mean the Fentanyl user will experience them all at once.
Common side effects include agitation, stomach pain, constipation, diarrhea, insomnia, lightheadedness, dry mouth, anxiety, headaches, indigestion, loss of appetite, nausea, memory loss, sweating, weakness, and itchiness.
A lot of these side effects happen to less than 1% of all Fentanyl users. Although many of these effects are uncommon, they can lead to serious problems if you do not seek medical attention.
Fentanyl Patches: Can They Cause Withdrawal and Overdose?
If the drug is taken for long periods of time, it will prove to be habit-forming. All narcotics can make a person feel euphoric, and that is what makes them addicted over time.
If you suddenly stop taking Fentanyl after becoming dependent on it, you will encounter withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, nausea, diarrhea, shakiness, sweating, insomnia and on some occasions, hallucinations.
It is also possible to get an overdose through Fentanyl patches, especially if the patch is cut in an attempt to reduce the dosage. Some patches aren’t designed to be cut and doing so only damages the inner layers that control the release of Fentanyl. As a result, the skin absorbs the potent drug all at once, causing them to overdose.
Make sure the patch you are using can be cut, if absolutely necessary.
Seek immediate medical attention if the person exhibits the following symptoms: cold or clammy skin, confusion, dizziness, hallucinations, seizures, slow heartbeat, shallow breathing, and the inability to think, walk, or talk normally.
How to Use Them Correctly
The dosage given to each individual is based on a lot of different factors, and the doctor will be the one to tell you which is appropriate for your condition. Many things can affect the dose of a medication a person needs, including their body weight, medical history, etc.
The patch should be applied to a non-irritated and non-irradiated skin on a flat surface such as the chest, the back, or upper arm. If the area is hairy, it should be clipped and not shaved before applying the patch.
If you are going to clean the area before applying the patch, use only clear water. Do not use soap, lotion, alcohol, or any other agent that might irritate the skin. These substances may cause the drug to be absorbed faster, causing unwanted side effects.
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Allow the skin to try completely before applying the patch. Each patch may be worn continuously for 72 hours. A new patch should be applied on a different skin surface after removal of the previous one.
When applying the patch, press it firmly in place with the palm of the hand for 30 seconds. Make sure the entire adhesive surface is attached to the skin.
If you have any other concerns, be sure to check with your doctor and inform them of any unwanted side effects.