Duragesic is a skin patch containing Fentanyl, a narcotic (opioid) pain medicine. Fentanyl is the high potency opioid present in the Duragesic patch. This drug contains a very high concentration of potent opioids. It is considered to be a Schedule II opioid. In specific, because of the high content of Fentanyl found in the patches, Duragesic has a high risk factor for abuse. If a person takes too much of this drug and suffers from an overdose it is extremely likely that the results will be fatal.
Why Is Duragesic Prescribed?
The Duragesic skin patch is prescribed to treat the symptoms of moderate to severe chronic pain. This type of pain is usually intolerable and unbearable to the patient. Their pain lasts for a long time and does not go away. It works by changing the way the brain and the nervous system respond to pain. The Duragesic skin patch is prescribed only when no other pain medications are successful in treating the patient's symptoms. This drug should only be used in patients who are already receiving opioid therapy. In order for the Duragesic skin patch to be prescribed to a patient, the patient must demonstrate a tolerance to opioid treatment. Patients who are considered opioid tolerant are those that have been taking opioids daily, for a week or more, in combination with other narcotic pain killers such as morphine.
Statistics Relating To Duragesic
The Duragesic skin patch is ONLY meant to be used for patients who are already tolerant to an opioid based treatment of comparable potency. If this drug is used in patients who are not opioid tolerant it may result in a fatal respiratory depression. Also when converting a patient who is on another opioid medication, doctors must be extremely careful not to over stimulate the patient with a high dose of Duragesic. It has been reported that the first dose of Fentanyl) can result in a fatal overdose if the patient is given too much.
Patients who are just beginning their treatment with the Duragesic patch require monitoring by a doctor for the first 24 hours. The peak concentrations in Duragesic occur between 20 and 72 hours of applying the patch. A doctor prescribing this medicine should always make the patient aware that serious life threatening hypoventilation may occur. Even if the patient is already opioid tolerant, this adverse effect may still occur during the initial application period. The safety of Duragesic in children under 2 years of age has not yet been determined. Duragesic should only be prescribed for children over the age of 2 and only if they are opioid tolerant.