Fentanyl (transdermal)

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Fentanyl (transdermal)
Black Box Warning
Adult Indications & Dosage
Pediatric Indications & Dosage
Contraindications
Warnings & Precautions
Adverse Reactions
Drug Interactions
Use in Specific Populations
Administration & Monitoring
Overdosage
Pharmacology
Clinical Studies
How Supplied
Images
Patient Counseling Information
Precautions with Alcohol
Brand Names
Look-Alike Names

Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Ammu Susheela, M.D. [2]

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Black Box Warning

WARNING: RISK OF RESPIRATORY DEPRESSION, MEDICATION ERRORS, ABUSE POTENTIAL RESPIRATORY DEPRESSION
See full prescribing information for complete Boxed Warning.
Fatal respiratory depression has occurred in patients treated with immediate-release transmucosal fentanyl, including following use in opioid non-tolerant patients and improper dosing. The substitution of Lazanda for any other fentanyl product may result in fatal overdose.

Due to the risk of respiratory depression, Lazanda is contraindicated in the management of acute or postoperative pain including headache/migraine and in opioid non-tolerant patients. [see CONTRAINDICATIONS (4)]

Lazanda must be kept out of reach of children. [see PATIENT COUNSELING INFORMATION (17.1) and HOW SUPPLIED/STORAGE AND HANDLING (16.1)]

The concomitant use of Lazanda with CYP3A4 inhibitors may result in an increase in fentanyl plasma concentrations, and may cause potentially fatal respiratory depression [see DRUG INTERACTIONS (7)].

MEDICATION ERRORS

Substantial differences exist in the pharmacokinetic profile of Lazanda compared to other fentanyl products that result in clinically important differences in the extent of absorption of fentanyl that could result in fatal overdose.

When prescribing, do not convert patients on a mcg per mcg basis from any other fentanyl products to Lazanda. (2.1) When dispensing, do not substitute a Lazanda prescription for other fentanyl products. ABUSE POTENTIAL

Lazanda contains fentanyl, an opioid agonist and a Schedule II controlled substance, with an abuse liability similar to other opioid analgesics. Lazanda can be abused in a manner similar to other opioid agonists, legal or illicit. This should be considered when prescribing or dispensing Lazanda in situations where the physician or pharmacist is concerned about an increased risk of misuse, abuse or diversion.

Because of the risk for misuse, abuse, addiction, and overdose, Lazanda is available only through a restricted program required by the Food and Drug Administration, called a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS). Under the Transmucosal Immediate Release Fentanyl (TIRF) REMS Access program, outpatients, healthcare professionals who prescribe to outpatients, pharmacies, and distributors must enroll in the program.

Overview

Fentanyl (transdermal) is an opioid analgesic that is FDA approved for the treatment of persistent, moderate to severe chronic pain. There is a Black Box Warning for this drug as shown here. Common adverse reactions include application site reaction, diaphoresis, pruritus, abdominal pain (transdermal, constipation (adults, , diarrhea, indigestion (transdermal, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, xerostomia, asthenia, confusion , dizziness, feeling nervous, headache, insomnia, somnolence, psychiatric: Anxiety, depression, euphoria, hallucinations, upper respiratory infection , influenza-like symptoms.

Adult Indications and Dosage

FDA-Labeled Indications and Dosage (Adult)

Indication
  • Fentanyl transdermal system is indicated for management of persistent, moderate to severe chronic pain that:
  • requires continuous, around-the-clock opioid administration for an extended period of time, and
  • cannot be managed by other means such as non-steroidal analgesics, opioid combination products, or immediate-release opioids.
  • Fentanyl transdermal system should ONLY be used in patients who are already receiving opioid therapy, who have demonstrated opioid tolerance, and who require a total daily dose at least equivalent to fentanyl transdermal system 25 mcg/hr.
  • Patients who are considered opioid-tolerant are those who have been taking, for a week or longer, at least 60 mg of morphine daily, or at least 30 mg of oral oxycodone daily, or at least 8 mg of oral hydromorphone daily, or an equianalgesic dose of another opioid.
  • Because serious or life-threatening hypoventilation could result, fentanyl transdermal system is contraindicated for use on an as needed basis (i.e., prn), for the management of post-operative or acute pain, or in patients who are not opioid-tolerant or who require opioid analgesia for a short period of time.
  • An evaluation of the appropriateness and adequacy of treating with immediate-release opioids is advisable prior to initiating therapy with any modified-release opioid. Prescribers should individualize treatment in every case, initiating therapy at the appropriate point along a progression from non-opioid analgesics, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and acetaminophen, to opioids, in a plan of pain management such as outlined by the World Health Organization, the Agency for Health Research and Quality, the Federation of State Medical Boards Model Policy, or the American Pain Society.
  • Patients should be assessed for their clinical risks for opioid abuse or addiction prior to being prescribed opioids. Patients receiving opioids should be routinely monitored for signs of misuse, abuse, and addiction. Persons at increased risk for opioid abuse include those with a personal or family history of substance abuse (including drug or alcohol abuse or addiction) or mental illness (e.g., major depression). Patients at increased risk may still be appropriately treated with modified-release opioid formulations; however these patients will require intensive monitoring for signs of misuse, abuse, or addiction.
Dosage
Special Precautions
  • Fentanyl transdermal system contains a high concentration of a potent Schedule II opioid agonist, fentanyl. Schedule II opioid substances which include fentanyl, hydromorphone, methadone, morphine, oxycodone, and oxymorphone have the highest potential for abuse and associated risk of fatal overdose due to respiratory depression. Fentanyl can be abused and is subject to criminal diversion. The high content of fentanyl in the patches (fentanyl transdermal system) may be a particular target for abuse and diversion.
  • Fentanyl transdermal systems are intended for transdermal use (on intact skin) only. The fentanyl transdermal system should not be used if the pouch seal is broken, or the patch is cut, damaged, or changed in any way.
  • Each fentanyl transdermal system may be worn continuously for 72 hours. The next patch should be applied to a different skin site after removal of the previous transdermal system.
  • If problems with adhesion of the fentanyl transdermal system occur, the edges of the patch may be taped with first aid tape. If problems with adhesion persist, the patch may be overlaid with a transparent adhesive film dressing (e.g., Bioclusive™ or Tegaderm™).
  • If the patch falls off before 72 hours, dispose of it by folding in half and flushing down the toilet. A new patch may be applied to a different skin site.
  • Fentanyl transdermal system is ONLY for use in patients who are already tolerant to opioid therapy of comparable potency. Use in non-opioid tolerant patients may lead to fatal respiratory depression. Overestimating the fentanyl transdermal system dose when converting patients from another opioid medication can result in fatal overdose with the first dose. Due to the mean half-life of approximately 17 hours, patients who are thought to have had a serious adverse event, including overdose, will require monitoring and treatment for at least 24 hours.
  • The concomitant use of fentanyl transdermal system with all cytochrome P450 3A4 inhibitors (such as ritonavir, ketoconazole, itraconazole, troleandomycin, clarithromycin, nelfinavir, nefazodone, amiodarone, amprenavir, aprepitant, diltiazem, erythromycin, fluconazole, fosamprenavir, grapefruit juice, and verapamil) may result in an increase in fentanyl plasma concentrations, which could increase or prolong adverse drug effects and may cause potentially fatal respiratory depression. * Patients receiving fentanyl transdermal system and any CYP3A4 inhibitor should be carefully monitored for an extended period of time and dosage adjustments should be made if warranted.
  • Pediatric patients converting to fentanyl transdermal system with a 25 mcg/hr patch should be opioid-tolerant and receiving at least 60 mg of oral morphine or the equivalent per day. The dose conversion schedule described in TABLE C, and method of titration described below are recommended in opioid-tolerant pediatric patients over 2 years of age with chronic pain.
  • Respiratory depression is the chief hazard in elderly or debilitated patients, usually following large initial doses in non-tolerant patients, or when opioids are given in conjunction with other agents that depress respiration.
  • Fentanyl transdermal system should be used with caution in elderly, cachectic, or debilitated patients as they may have altered pharmacokinetics due to poor fat stores, muscle wasting, or altered clearance.
General Principles
  • Fentanyl transdermal system is indicated for management of persistent, moderate to severe chronic pain that:
  • requires continuous, around-the-clock opioid administration for an extended period of time
  • cannot be managed by other means such as non-steroidal analgesics, opioid combination products, or immediate-release opioids.
  • Fentanyl transdermal system should ONLY be used in patients who are already receiving opioid therapy, who have demonstrated opioid tolerance, and who require a total daily dose at least equivalent to fentanyl transdermal system 25 mcg/hr.
  • Patients who are considered opioid-tolerant are those who have been taking, for a week or longer, at least 60 mg of morphine daily, or at least 30 mg of oral oxycodone daily, or at least 8 mg oral hydromorphone daily, or an equianalgesic dose of another opioid.
  • Because serious or life-threatening hypoventilation could occur, fentanyl transdermal system is contraindicated:
  • in patients who are not opioid-tolerant
  • in the management of acute pain or in patients who require opioid analgesia for a short period of time
  • in the management of post-operative pain, including use after out-patient or day surgeries (e.g., tonsillectomies)
  • in the management of mild pain
  • in the management of intermittent pain (e.g., use on an as needed basis [prn]).
  • Safety of fentanyl transdermal system has not been established in children under 2 years of age. Fentanyl transdermal system should be administered to children only if they are opioid-tolerant and 2 years of age or older.
  • Prescribers should individualize treatment using a progressive plan of pain management such as outlined by the World Health Organization, the Agency for Health Research and Quality, the Federation of State Medical Boards Model Policy, or the American Pain Society.
  • With all opioids, the safety of patients using the products is dependent on healthcare practitioners prescribing them in strict conformity with their approved labeling with respect to patient selection, dosing, and proper conditions for use.
  • As with all opioids, dosage should be individualized. The most important factor to be considered in determining the appropriate dose is the extent of pre-existing opioid-tolerance. Initial doses should be reduced in elderly or debilitated patients.
  • Fentanyl transdermal system should be applied to intact, non-irritated, and non-irradiated skin on a flat surface such as the chest, back, flank, or upper arm. In young children and persons with cognitive impairment, adhesion should be monitored and the upper back is the preferred location to minimize the potential of inappropriate patch removal. Hair at the application site should be clipped (not shaved) prior to system application. If the site of fentanyl transdermal system application must be cleansed prior to application of the patch, do so with clear water. Do not use soaps, oils, lotions, alcohol, or any other agents that might irritate the skin or alter its characteristics. Allow the skin to dry completely prior to patch application.
  • Fentanyl transdermal system should be applied immediately upon removal from the sealed package. Do not use if the pouch seal is broken. Do not alter the patch (e.g., cut) in any way prior to application and do not use cut or damaged patches.
  • The transdermal system should be pressed firmly in place with the palm of the hand for 30 seconds, making sure the contact is complete, especially around the edges.
  • Fentanyl transdermal system should be kept out of the reach of children. Used patches should be folded so that the adhesive side of the patch adheres to itself, then the patch should be flushed down the toilet immediately upon removal. Patients should dispose of any patches remaining from a prescription as soon as they are no longer needed. Unused patches should be removed from their pouches, folded so that the adhesive side of the patch adheres to itself, and flushed down the toilet.
Dose Selection
  • Doses must be individualized based upon the status of each patient and should be assessed at regular intervals after fentanyl transdermal system application. Reduced doses of fentanyl transdermal system are suggested for the elderly and other groups discussed in PRECAUTIONS.
  • Fentanyl transdermal system is ONLY for use in patients who are already tolerant to opioid therapy of comparable potency. Use in non-opioid tolerant patients may lead to fatal respiratory depression.
  • In selecting an initial fentanyl transdermal system dose, attention should be given to 1) the daily dose, potency, and characteristics of the opioid the patient has been taking previously (e.g., whether it is a pure agonist or mixed agonist-antagonist), 2) the reliability of the relative potency estimates used to calculate the fentanyl transdermal system dose needed (potency estimates may vary with the route of administration), 3) the degree of opioid tolerance and 4) the general condition and medical status of the patient. Each patient should be maintained at the lowest dose providing acceptable pain control.
Initial Fentanyl Transdermal System Dose Selection
  • Overestimating the fentanyl transdermal system dose when converting patients from another opioid medication can result in fatal overdose with the first dose. Due to the mean half-life of approximately 17 hours, patients who are thought to have had a serious adverse event, including overdose, will require monitoring and treatment for at least 24 hours.
  • There has been no systematic evaluation of fentanyl transdermal system as an initial opioid analgesic in the management of chronic pain, since most patients in the clinical trials were converted to fentanyl transdermal system from other narcotics. The efficacy of fentanyl transdermal system 12 mcg/hr as an initiating dose has not been determined. In addition, patients who are not opioid-tolerant have experienced hypoventilation and death during use of fentanyl transdermal system.
  • Therefore, fentanyl transdermal system should be used only in patients who are opioid-tolerant.
  • To convert patients from oral or parenteral opioids to fentanyl transdermal system, use TABLE C:
  • Alternatively, for adult and pediatric patients taking opioids or doses not listed in TABLE C, use the following methodology:
  • Calculate the previous 24-hour analgesic requirement.
  • Convert this amount to the equianalgesic oral morphine dose using TABLE D.

TABLE E displays the range of 24-hour oral morphine doses that are recommended for conversion to each fentanyl transdermal system dose. Use this table to find the calculated 24-hour morphine dose and the corresponding fentanyl transdermal system dose. Initiate fentanyl transdermal system treatment using the recommended dose and titrate patients upwards (no more frequently than every 3 days after the initial dose or than every 6 days thereafter) until analgesic efficacy is attained. The recommended starting dose when converting from other opioids to fentanyl transdermal system is likely too low for 50% of patients. This starting dose is recommended to minimize the potential for overdosing patients with the first dose. For delivery rates in excess of 100 mcg/hr, multiple systems may be used.

This image is provided by the National Library of Medicine.
  • The majority of patients are adequately maintained with fentanyl transdermal system administered every 72 hours. Some patients may not achieve adequate analgesia using this dosing interval and may require systems to be applied every 48 hours rather than every 72 hours. An increase in the fentanyl transdermal system dose should be evaluated before changing dosing intervals in order to maintain patients on a 72-hour regimen. Dosing intervals less than every 72 hours were not studied in children and adolescents and are not recommended.
  • Because of the increase in serum fentanyl concentration over the first 24 hours following initial system application, the initial evaluation of the maximum analgesic effect of fentanyl transdermal system cannot be made before 24 hours of wearing. The initial fentanyl transdermal system dose may be increased after 3 days.
  • During the initial application of fentanyl transdermal system, patients should use short-acting analgesics as needed until analgesic efficacy with fentanyl transdermal system is attained. Thereafter, some patients still may require periodic supplemental doses of other short-acting analgesics for “breakthrough” pain.
Dose Titration
  • The recommended initial fentanyl transdermal system dose based upon the daily oral morphine dose is conservative, and 50% of patients are likely to require a dose increase after initial application of fentanyl transdermal system. The initial fentanyl transdermal system dose may be increased after 3 days based on the daily dose of supplemental opioid analgesics required by the patient in the second or third day of the initial application.
  • Physicians are advised that it may take up to 6 days after increasing the dose of fentanyl transdermal system for the patient to reach equilibrium on the new dose.
  • Therefore, patients should wear a higher dose through two applications before any further increase in dosage is made on the basis of the average daily use of a supplemental analgesic.
  • Appropriate dosage increments should be based on the daily dose of supplementary opioids, using the ratio of 45 mg/24 hours of oral morphine to a 12.5 mcg/hr increase in fentanyl transdermal system dose.
Discontinuation of Fentanyl Transdermal System
  • To convert patients to another opioid, remove fentanyl transdermal system and titrate the dose of the new analgesic based upon the patient’s report of pain until adequate analgesia has been attained. Upon system removal, 17 hours or more are required for a 50% decrease in serum fentanyl concentrations. Opioid withdrawal symptoms (such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, anxiety, and shivering) are possible in some patients after conversion or dose adjustment. For patients requiring discontinuation of opioids, a gradual downward titration is recommended since it is not known at what dose level the opioid may be discontinued without producing the signs and symptoms of abrupt withdrawal.
  • Tables C, D, and E should not be used to convert from fentanyl transdermal system to other therapies. Because the conversion to fentanyl transdermal system is conservative, use of Tables C, D, and E for conversion to other analgesic therapies can overestimate the dose of the new agent. Overdosage of the new analgesic agent is possible.

Off-Label Use and Dosage (Adult)

Guideline-Supported Use

There is limited information regarding Off-Label Guideline-Supported Use of Fentanyl (transdermal) in adult patients.

Non–Guideline-Supported Use

There is limited information regarding Off-Label Non–Guideline-Supported Use of Fentanyl (transdermal) in adult patients.

Pediatric Indications and Dosage

FDA-Labeled Indications and Dosage (Pediatric)

There is limited information regarding Fentanyl (transdermal) FDA-Labeled Indications and Dosage (Pediatric) in the drug label.

Off-Label Use and Dosage (Pediatric)

Guideline-Supported Use

There is limited information regarding Off-Label Guideline-Supported Use of Fentanyl (transdermal) in pediatric patients.

Non–Guideline-Supported Use

There is limited information regarding Off-Label Non–Guideline-Supported Use of Fentanyl (transdermal) in pediatric patients.

Contraindications

  • Because serious or life-threatening hypoventilation could occur, fentanyl transdermal system is contraindicated:
  • in patients who are not opioid-tolerant
  • in the management of acute pain or in patients who require opioid analgesia for a short period of time
  • in the management of post-operative pain, including use after out-patient or day surgeries, (e.g., tonsillectomies)
  • in the management of mild pain
  • in the management of intermittent pain (e.g., use on an as needed basis [prn])
  • in situations of significant respiratory depression, especially in unmonitored settings where there is a lack of resuscitative equipment
  • in patients who have acute or severe bronchial asthma
  • Fentanyl transdermal system is contraindicated in patients who have or are suspected of having paralytic ileus.
  • Fentanyl transdermal system is contraindicated in patients with known hypersensitivity to fentanyl or any components of this product.

Warnings

WARNING: RISK OF RESPIRATORY DEPRESSION, MEDICATION ERRORS, ABUSE POTENTIAL RESPIRATORY DEPRESSION
See full prescribing information for complete Boxed Warning.
Fatal respiratory depression has occurred in patients treated with immediate-release transmucosal fentanyl, including following use in opioid non-tolerant patients and improper dosing. The substitution of Lazanda for any other fentanyl product may result in fatal overdose.

Due to the risk of respiratory depression, Lazanda is contraindicated in the management of acute or postoperative pain including headache/migraine and in opioid non-tolerant patients. [see CONTRAINDICATIONS (4)]

Lazanda must be kept out of reach of children. [see PATIENT COUNSELING INFORMATION (17.1) and HOW SUPPLIED/STORAGE AND HANDLING (16.1)]

The concomitant use of Lazanda with CYP3A4 inhibitors may result in an increase in fentanyl plasma concentrations, and may cause potentially fatal respiratory depression [see DRUG INTERACTIONS (7)].

MEDICATION ERRORS

Substantial differences exist in the pharmacokinetic profile of Lazanda compared to other fentanyl products that result in clinically important differences in the extent of absorption of fentanyl that could result in fatal overdose.

When prescribing, do not convert patients on a mcg per mcg basis from any other fentanyl products to Lazanda. (2.1) When dispensing, do not substitute a Lazanda prescription for other fentanyl products. ABUSE POTENTIAL

Lazanda contains fentanyl, an opioid agonist and a Schedule II controlled substance, with an abuse liability similar to other opioid analgesics. Lazanda can be abused in a manner similar to other opioid agonists, legal or illicit. This should be considered when prescribing or dispensing Lazanda in situations where the physician or pharmacist is concerned about an increased risk of misuse, abuse or diversion.

Because of the risk for misuse, abuse, addiction, and overdose, Lazanda is available only through a restricted program required by the Food and Drug Administration, called a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS). Under the Transmucosal Immediate Release Fentanyl (TIRF) REMS Access program, outpatients, healthcare professionals who prescribe to outpatients, pharmacies, and distributors must enroll in the program.
  • Fentanyl transdermal systems are intended for transdermal use (on intact skin) only. Do not use a fentanyl transdermal system if the pouch seal is broken or the patch is cut, damaged, or changed in any way.
  • The safety of fentanyl transdermal system has not been established in children under 2 years of age. Fentanyl transdermal system should be administered to children only if they are opioid-tolerant and 2 years of age or older.
  • Fentanyl transdermal system is ONLY for use in patients who are already tolerant to opioid therapy of comparable potency. Use in non-opioid tolerant patients may lead to fatal respiratory depression. Overestimating the fentanyl transdermal system dose when converting patients from another opioid medication can result in fatal overdose with the first dose. The mean half-life is approximately 17 hours. Therefore, patients who have experienced serious adverse events, including overdose, will require monitoring for at least 24 hours after fentanyl transdermal system removal since serum fentanyl concentrations decline gradually and reach an approximate 50% reduction in serum concentrations 17 hours after system removal.
  • Fentanyl transdermal system should be prescribed only by persons knowledgeable in the continuous administration of potent opioids, in the management of patients receiving potent opioids for treatment of pain, and in the detection and management of hypoventilation including the use of opioid antagonists.
  • All patients and their caregivers should be advised to avoid exposing the fentanyl transdermal system application site and surrounding area to direct external heat sources, such as heating pads or electric blankets, heat or tanning lamps, saunas, hot tubs, and heated water beds, etc., while wearing the system. Patients should be advised against taking hot baths or sunbathing. There is a potential for temperature-dependent increases in fentanyl released from the system resulting in possible overdose and death. A clinical pharmacology trial conducted in healthy adult subjects has shown that the application of heat over the fentanyl transdermal system increased mean fentanyl AUC values by 120% and mean Cmax values by 61%.
  • Based on a pharmacokinetic model, serum fentanyl concentrations could theoretically increase by approximately one-third for patients with a body temperature of 40°C (104°F) due to temperature-dependent increases in fentanyl released from the system and increased skin permeability. Patients wearing fentanyl transdermal systems who develop fever or increased core body temperature due to strenuous exertion should be monitored for opioid side effects and the fentanyl transdermal system dose should be adjusted if necessary.
  • Death and other serious medical problems have occurred when people were accidentally exposed to fentanyl transdermal system. Examples of accidental exposure include transfer of a fentanyl transdermal system from an adult’s body to a child while hugging, accidental sitting on a patch and possible accidental exposure of a caregiver’s skin to the medication in the patch while the caregiver was applying or removing the patch.
  • Placing fentanyl transdermal system in the mouth, chewing it, swallowing it, or using it in ways other than indicated may cause choking or overdose that could result in death.
Misuse, Abuse and Diversion of Opioids
  • Fentanyl is an opioid agonist of the morphine-type. Such drugs are sought by drug abusers and people with addiction disorders and are subject to criminal diversion.
  • Fentanyl can be abused in a manner similar to other opioids, legal or illicit. This should be considered when prescribing or dispensing fentanyl transdermal system in situations where the physician or pharmacist is concerned about an increased risk of misuse, abuse or diversion.
  • Fentanyl transdermal system has been reported as being abused by other methods and routes of administration. These practices will result in uncontrolled delivery of the opioid and pose a significant risk to the abuser that could result in overdose and death.
  • Concerns about abuse, addiction and diversion should not prevent the proper management of pain. However, all patients treated with opioids require careful monitoring for signs of abuse and addiction, since use of opioid analgesic products carries the risk of addiction even under appropriate medical use.
  • Healthcare professionals should contact their state professional licensing board or state controlled substances authority for information on how to prevent and detect abuse or diversion of this product.
Hypoventilation (Respiratory Depression)
  • Serious or life-threatening hypoventilation may occur at any time during the use of fentanyl transdermal system especially during the initial 24 to 72 hours following initiation of therapy and following increases in dose.
  • Because significant amounts of fentanyl continue to be absorbed from the skin for 17 hours or more after the patch is removed, hypoventilation may persist beyond the removal of fentanyl transdermal system. Consequently, patients with hypoventilation should be carefully observed for degree of sedation and their respiratory rate monitored until respiration has stabilized.
  • The use of concomitant CNS active drugs requires special patient care and observation.
  • Respiratory depression is the chief hazard of opioid agonists, including fentanyl the active ingredient in fentanyl transdermal system. Respiratory depression is more likely to occur in elderly or debilitated patients, usually following large initial doses in non-tolerant patients, or when opioids are given in conjunction with other drugs that depress respiration.
  • Respiratory depression from opioids is manifested by a reduced urge to breathe and a decreased rate of respiration, often associated with the “sighing” pattern of breathing (deep breaths separated by abnormally long pauses). Carbon dioxide retention from opioid-induced respiratory depression can exacerbate the sedating effects of opioids. This makes overdoses involving drugs with sedative properties and opioids especially dangerous.
  • Fentanyl transdermal system should be used with extreme caution in patients with significant chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or cor pulmonale, and in patients having a substantially decreased respiratory reserve, hypoxia, hypercapnia, or pre-existing respiratory depression. In such patients, even usual therapeutic doses of fentanyl transdermal system may decrease respiratory drive to the point of apnea. In these patients, alternative non-opioid analgesics should be considered, and opioids should be employed only under careful medical supervision at the lowest effective dose.
Chronic Pulmonary Disease
  • Because potent opioids can cause serious or life-threatening hypoventilation, fentanyl transdermal system should be administered with caution to patients with pre-existing medical conditions predisposing them to hypoventilation. In such patients, normal analgesic doses of opioids may further decrease respiratory drive to the point of respiratory failure.
Head Injuries and Increased Intracranial Pressure
  • Fentanyl transdermal system should not be used in patients who may be particularly susceptible to the intracranial effects of CO2 retention such as those with evidence of increased intracranial pressure, impaired consciousness, or coma. Opioids may obscure the clinical course of patients with head injury. Fentanyl transdermal system should be used with caution in patients with brain tumors.
Interactions with Other CNS Depressants
  • The concomitant use of fentanyl transdermal system with other central nervous system depressants, including but not limited to other opioids, sedatives, hypnotics, tranquilizers (e.g., benzodiazepines), general anesthetics, phenothiazines, skeletal muscle relaxants, and alcohol, may cause respiratory depression, hypotension, and profound sedation or potentially result in coma. When such combined therapy is contemplated, the dose of one or both agents should be significantly reduced.
Interactions with Alcohol and Drugs of Abuse
  • Fentanyl may be expected to have additive CNS depressant effects when used in conjunction with alcohol, other opioids, or illicit drugs that cause central nervous system depression.
Interactions with CYP3A4 Inhibitors

Adverse Reactions

Clinical Trials Experience

  • Although fentanyl transdermal system use in post-operative or acute pain and in patients who are not opioid-tolerant is CONTRAINDICATED, the safety of fentanyl transdermal system was originally evaluated in 357 post-operative adult patients for 1 to 3 days and 153 cancer patients for a total of 510 patients. The duration of fentanyl transdermal system use varied in cancer patients; 56% of patients used fentanyl transdermal system for over 30 days, 28% continued treatment for more than 4 months, and 10% used fentanyl transdermal system for more than 1 year.
  • Hypoventilation was the most serious adverse reaction observed in 13 (4%) post-operative patients and in 3 (2%) of the cancer patients. Hypotension and hypertension were observed in 11 (3%) and 4 (1%) of the opioid-naive patients.
  • Various adverse events were reported; a causal relationship to fentanyl transdermal system was not always determined. The frequencies presented here reflect the actual frequency of each adverse effect in patients who received fentanyl transdermal system. There has been no attempt to correct for a placebo effect, concomitant use of other opioids, or to subtract the frequencies reported by placebo-treated patients in controlled trials.
  • Adverse reactions reported in 153 cancer patients at a frequency of 1% or greater are presented in TABLE 1; similar reactions were seen in the 357 post-operative patients.
  • In the pediatric population, the safety of fentanyl transdermal system has been evaluated in 291 patients with chronic pain 2 to 18 years of age. The duration of fentanyl transdermal system use varied; 20% of pediatric patients were treated for ≤ 15 days; 46% for 16 to 30 days; 16% for 31 to 60 days; and 17% for at least 61 days. * Twenty-five patients were treated with fentanyl transdermal system for at least 4 months and 9 patients for more than 9 months.
  • There was no apparent pediatric-specific risk associated with fentanyl transdermal system use in children as young as 2 years old when used as directed. The most common adverse events were fever (35%), vomiting (33%), and nausea (24%).
  • Adverse events reported in pediatric patients at a rate of ≥1% are presented in TABLE 1.
This image is provided by the National Library of Medicine.

Postmarketing Experience

  • The following adverse reactions have been reported in association with the use of fentanyl transdermal system and not reported in the pre-marketing adverse reactions section above:

Drug Interactions

Agents Affecting Cytochrome P450 3A4 Isoenzyme System
  • Fentanyl is metabolized mainly via the human cytochrome P450 3A4 isoenzyme system (CYP3A4), therefore potential interactions may occur when fentanyl transdermal system is given concurrently with agents that affect CYP3A4 activity. Coadminstration with agents that induce CYP3A4 activity may reduce the efficacy of fentanyl transdermal system. The concomitant use of transdermal fentanyl with all CYP3A4 inhibitors (such as ritonavir, ketoconazole, itraconazole, troleandomycin, clarithromycin, nelfinavir, nefazodone, amiodarone, amprenavir, aprepitant, diltiazem, erythromycin, fluconazole, fosamprenavir, grapefruit juice, and verapamil) may result in an increase in fentanyl plasma concentrations, which could increase or prolong adverse drug effects and may cause fatal respiratory depression. Patients receiving fentanyl transdermal system and any CYP3A4 inhibitor should be carefully monitored for an extended period of time, and dosage adjustments should be made if warranted.
Central Nervous System Depressants
  • The concomitant use of fentanyl transdermal system with other central nervous system depressants, including but not limited to other opioids, sedatives, hypnotics, tranquilizers (e.g., benzodiazepines), general anesthetics, phenothiazines, skeletal muscle relaxants, and alcohol, may cause respiratory depression, hypotension, and profound sedation, or potentially result in coma or death. When such combined therapy is contemplated, the dose of one or both agents should be significantly reduced.
MAO Inhibitors
  • Fentanyl transdermal system is not recommended for use in patients who have received MAOI within 14 days because severe and unpredictable potentiation by MAO inhibitors has been reported with opioid analgesics.

Use in Specific Populations

Pregnancy

Pregnancy Category (FDA): C

  • No epidemiological studies of congenital anomalies in infants born to women treated with fentanyl during pregnancy have been reported.
  • The potential effects of fentanyl on embryo-fetal development were studied in the rat, mouse, and rabbit models. Published literature reports that administration of fentanyl (0, 10, 100, or 500 mcg/kg/day) to pregnant female Sprague-Dawley rats from day 7 to 21 via implanted microosmotic minipumps did not produce any evidence of teratogenicity (the high dose is approximately 2 times the daily human dose administered by a 100 mcg/hr patch on a mg/m2 basis). In contrast, the intravenous administration of fentanyl (0, 0.01, or 0.03 mg/kg) to bred female rats from gestation day 6 to 18 suggested evidence of embryotoxicity and a slight increase in mean delivery time in the 0.03 mg/kg/day group. There was no clear evidence of teratogenicity noted.
  • Pregnant female New Zealand White rabbits were treated with fentanyl (0, 0.025, 0.1, 0.4 mg/kg) via intravenous infusion from day 6 to day 18 of pregnancy. Fentanyl produced a slight decrease in the body weight of the live fetuses at the high dose, which may be attributed to maternal toxicity. Under the conditions of the assay, there was no evidence for fentanyl induced adverse effects on embryo-fetal development at doses up to 0.4 mg/kg (approximately 3 times the daily human dose administered by a 100 mcg/hr patch on a mg/m2 basis).
  • There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. Fentanyl transdermal system should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.


Pregnancy Category (AUS): There is no Australian Drug Evaluation Committee (ADEC) guidance on usage of Fentanyl (transdermal) in women who are pregnant.

Labor and Delivery

There is no FDA guidance on use of Fentanyl (transdermal) during labor and delivery.

Nursing Mothers

There is no FDA guidance on the use of Fentanyl (transdermal) in women who are nursing.

Pediatric Use

  • The safety of fentanyl transdermal system was evaluated in three open-label trials in 291 pediatric patients with chronic pain, 2 years of age through 18 years of age. Starting doses of 25 mcg/hr and higher were used by 181 patients who had been on prior daily opioid doses of at least 45 mg/day of oral morphine or an equianalgesic dose of another opioid. Initiation of fentanyl transdermal system therapy in pediatric patients taking less than 60 mg/day of oral morphine or an equianalgesic dose of another opioid has not been evaluated in controlled clinical trials. Approximately 90% of the total daily opioid requirement (fentanyl transdermal system plus rescue medication) was provided by fentanyl transdermal system.

Geriatic Use

  • Data from intravenous studies with fentanyl suggest that the elderly patients may have reduced clearance and a prolonged half-life. Moreover elderly patients may be more sensitive to the active substance than younger patients. A study conducted with the fentanyl transdermal system in elderly patients demonstrated that fentanyl pharmacokinetics did not differ significantly from young adult subjects, although peak serum concentrations tended to be lower and mean half-life values were prolonged to approximately 34 hours.
  • Respiratory depression is the chief hazard in elderly or debilitated patients, usually following large initial doses in non-tolerant patients or when opioids are given in conjunction with other agents that depress respiration.
  • Fentanyl transdermal system should be used with caution in elderly, cachectic, or debilitated patients as they may have altered pharmacokinetics due to poor fat stores, muscle wasting or altered clearance.

Gender

There is no FDA guidance on the use of Fentanyl (transdermal) with respect to specific gender populations.

Race

There is no FDA guidance on the use of Fentanyl (transdermal) with respect to specific racial populations.

Renal Impairment

There is no FDA guidance on the use of Fentanyl (transdermal) in patients with renal impairment.

Hepatic Impairment

There is no FDA guidance on the use of Fentanyl (transdermal) in patients with hepatic impairment.

Females of Reproductive Potential and Males

There is no FDA guidance on the use of Fentanyl (transdermal) in women of reproductive potentials and males.

Immunocompromised Patients

There is no FDA guidance one the use of Fentanyl (transdermal) in patients who are immunocompromised.

Administration and Monitoring

Administration

Transdermal

Monitoring

There is limited information regarding Fentanyl (transdermal) Monitoring in the drug label.

IV Compatibility

There is limited information regarding the compatibility of Fentanyl (transdermal) and IV administrations.

Overdosage

Clinical Presentation
  • The manifestations of fentanyl overdosage are an extension of its pharmacologic actions with the most serious significant effect being hypoventilation.
Treatment
  • For the management of hypoventilation, immediate countermeasures include removing the fentanyl transdermal system and physically or verbally stimulating the patient. These actions can be followed by administration of a specific narcotic antagonist such as naloxone. The duration of hypoventilation following an overdose may be longer than the effects of the narcotic antagonist’s action (the half-life of naloxone ranges from 30 to 81 minutes). The interval between IV antagonist doses should be carefully chosen because of the possibility of re-narcotization after system removal; repeated administration of naloxone may be necessary. Reversal of the narcotic effect may result in acute onset of pain and the release of catecholamines.
  • Always ensure a patent airway is established and maintained, administer oxygen and assist or control respiration as indicated and use an oropharyngeal airway or endotracheal tube if necessary. Adequate body temperature and fluid intake should be maintained.
  • If severe or persistent hypotension occurs, the possibility of hypovolemia should be considered and managed with appropriate parenteral fluid therapy.

Pharmacology

There is limited information regarding Fentanyl (transdermal) Pharmacology in the drug label.

Mechanism of Action

There is limited information regarding Fentanyl (transdermal) Mechanism of Action in the drug label.

Structure

There is limited information regarding Fentanyl (transdermal) Structure in the drug label.

Pharmacodynamics

  • Because of the risk for serious or life-threatening hypoventilation, fentanyl transdermal system is CONTRAINDICATED in the treatment of post-operative and acute pain and in patients who are not opioid-tolerant. In clinical trials of 357 patients with acute pain treated with fentanyl transdermal system, 13 patients experienced hypoventilation. Hypoventilation was manifested by respiratory rates of less than 8 breaths/minute or a pCO2 greater than 55 mm Hg. In these studies, the incidence of hypoventilation was higher in nontolerant women (10) than in men (3) and in patients weighing less than 63 kg (9 of 13). Although patients with impaired respiration were not common in the trials, they had higher rates of hypoventilation. In addition, post-marketing reports have been received that describe opioid-naive post-operative patients who have experienced clinically significant hypoventilation and death with fentanyl transdermal system.
  • While most patients using fentanyl transdermal system chronically develop tolerance to fentanyl induced hypoventilation, episodes of slowed respirations may occur at any time during therapy.
  • Hypoventilation can occur throughout the therapeutic range of fentanyl serum concentrations, especially for patients who have an underlying pulmonary condition or who receive usual doses of opioids or other CNS drugs associated with hypoventilation in addition to fentanyl transdermal system. The use of fentanyl transdermal system is contraindicated in patients who are not tolerant to opioid therapy.
  • The use of fentanyl transdermal system should be monitored by clinical evaluation, especially within the initial 24 to 72 hours when serum concentrations from the initial patch will peak, and following increases in dosage. Fentanyl transdermal system should be administered to children only if they are opioid-tolerant and 2 years of age or older.

Pharmacokinetics

  • Fentanyl transdermal system is a drug-in-adhesive matrix designed formulation. Fentanyl is released from the matrix at a nearly constant amount per unit time. The concentration gradient existing between the matrix and the lower concentration in the skin drives drug release. Fentanyl moves in the direction of the lower concentration at a rate determined by the copolymer release membrane and the diffusion of fentanyl through the skin layers. While the actual rate of fentanyl delivery to the skin varies over the 72-hour application period, each system is labeled with a nominal flux which represents the average amount of drug delivered to the systemic circulation per hour across average skin.
  • While there is variation in dose delivered among patients, the nominal flux of the systems (25, 50, 75, and 100 mcg of fentanyl per hour) is sufficiently accurate as to allow individual titration of dosage for a given patient.
  • Following fentanyl transdermal system application, the skin under the system absorbs fentanyl, and a depot of fentanyl concentrates in the upper skin layers. Fentanyl then becomes available to the systemic circulation. Serum fentanyl concentrations increase gradually following initial fentanyl transdermal system application, generally leveling off between 12 and 24 hours and remaining relatively constant, with some fluctuation, for the remainder of the 72-hour application period. * Peak serum concentrations of fentanyl generally occurred between 24 and 72 hours after initial application (see TABLE A). Serum fentanyl concentrations achieved are proportional to the fentanyl transdermal system delivery rate. With continuous use, serum fentanyl concentrations continue to rise for the first two system applications. * By the end of the second 72-hour application, a steady-state serum concentration is reached and is maintained during subsequent applications of a patch of the same size. * Patients reach and maintain a steady-state serum concentration that is determined by individual variation in skin permeability and body clearance of fentanyl.
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Nonclinical Toxicology

There is limited information regarding Fentanyl (transdermal) Nonclinical Toxicology in the drug label.

Clinical Studies

There is limited information regarding Fentanyl (transdermal) Clinical Studies in the drug label.

How Supplied

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  • Safety and Handling
  • Fentanyl transdermal system is supplied in sealed transdermal systems which pose little risk of exposure to healthcare workers. Do not use a fentanyl transdermal system if the pouch seal is broken or the patch is cut, damaged, or changed in any way.
  • KEEP FENTANYL TRANSDERMAL SYSTEM OUT OF THE REACH OF CHILDREN AND PETS.

Storage

  • Store in original unopened pouch. Store up to 25°C (77°F); excursions permitted to 15-30°C (59-86°F). Apply immediately after removal from individually sealed pouch. Do not use if the pouch seal is broken. For transdermal use only.

Images

Drug Images

Package and Label Display Panel

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Patient Counseling Information

There is limited information regarding Fentanyl (transdermal) Patient Counseling Information in the drug label.

Precautions with Alcohol

Alcohol-Fentanyl (transdermal) interaction has not been established. Talk to your doctor about the effects of taking alcohol with this medication.

Brand Names

  • FENTANYL TRANSDERMAL SYSTEM[1]

Look-Alike Drug Names

There is limited information regarding Fentanyl (transdermal) Look-Alike Drug Names in the drug label.

Drug Shortage Status

Price

References

The contents of this FDA label are provided by the National Library of Medicine.

  1. "FENTANYL TRANSDERMAL SYSTEM- fentanyl patch, extended release".

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