Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Alcohol and other medications that cause drowsiness: Do not combine this medication with alcohol or other medications (e.g., antidepressants, sleeping pills, anxiety medications) that cause drowsiness since additive drowsiness can occur and be dangerous.
Dependence: As with other opioid medications, physical dependence can occur when this medication is taken for long periods of time. This is not the same as addiction. Misuse of this medication is not usually a problem when it is used appropriately to treat pain. Consult your doctor if you have any questions.
Do not stop using fentanyl tablets suddenly since withdrawal symptoms may occur. These symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, shivering, and anxiety. Your doctor will advise you on how to safely stop taking fentanyl tablets.
It is important to tell your doctor if you or a family member have ever been dependent on or misused alcohol, prescription medications, or street drugs.
Difficulty breathing: Fentanyl tablets can cause serious and life-threatening breathing problems. If you experience slowed, shallow, or difficulty breathing, seek immediate medical attention. If you are taking other medications that can slow breathing (e.g., anxiety medications, sleeping pills) are a senior, or have chronic bronchitis or emphysema that is not severe, you are more at risk of experiencing these symptoms. Make sure you follow the instructions on how to properly use this medication. If you have any questions, contact your doctor or pharmacist. If you have a severe chronic lung condition (e.g., bronchitis, emphysema), you should not take this medication.
Drowsiness/reduced alertness: This medication may cause drowsiness or dizziness. Do not drive, operate machinery, or perform other potentially hazardous tasks until you have determined how this medication affects you.
Grapefruit: Do not drink grapefruit juice or eat grapefruit while you are taking this medication. This can interfere with how the medication leaves your body and cause unwanted and potentially serious side effects.
Head injury: People with head injuries, increased pressure in the brain, or reduced consciousness may have a higher risk of experiencing side effects (breathing problems) or worsening of their condition while taking this medication. Your doctor will weigh the risks and benefits of you using this medication and will monitor you closely for side effects.
Kidney function: Kidney disease or reduced kidney function may cause this medication to build up in the body, causing side effects. If you have reduced kidney function, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Liver function: Liver disease or reduced liver function may cause this medication to build up in the body, causing side effects. If you have reduced liver function, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Other medical conditions: If you have lung problems, an abnormally slow heartbeat (bradycardia), gallstones, or pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Proper use: It is important for you and people caring for you to understand how to use this medication correctly. If you experience, or your caregiver notices, the following symptoms of taking too much fentanyl tablets, get immediate medical attention:
- difficulty thinking, talking, or walking
- extreme drowsiness with slowed breathing
- feeling faint, dizzy, confused
- hallucinations (hearing, seeing, or feeling things that are not there)
- slow, shallow breathing
- trouble breathing
Tolerance: Fentanyl tablets may lead to tolerance when used for a long period of time. Tolerance means that your body gets used to the medication so that more medication may be needed to produce the same pain relief. Your doctor will recommend the dose of fentanyl tablets that is most appropriate for you. Do not change your dose or the way you are using the medication on your own. If you find that a dose of fentanyl is not providing the same amount of pain relief as before, contact your doctor.
Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant or plan to become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Breast-feeding: This medication passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking fentanyl, it may cause life-threatening breathing difficulties for your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.
Children: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children and adolescents less than 18 years of age. Accidental ingestion of this medication by children may lead to severe and even fatal consequences. Keep this medication out of the reach of children.
Seniors: Seniors may be more sensitive to the side effects of this medication.