Fentanyl Patch for Chronic Pain Relief

Jump to a section
Table of contents
Expand list

What is a Fentanyl Patch?

A fentanyl patch is a powerful opioid painkiller applied to the skin. Fentanyl is used to treat many forms of chronic pain, and many doctors choose to administer this drug via a patch placed on the skin for three days.

Through a transdermal patch, a patient can receive a continuous dosage of fentanyl over 72 hours. When depleted, they can switch the old patch for a new one, to ensure constant release of medication and some relief from their chronic pain.

Many cancer patients use a fentanyl patch for pain management. Since chronic pain can last a long time and the fentanyl patches provide continuous release of the medication, it can make the body more dependent on it. This means that medical professionals need to monitor the patient and make sure that the dosage is not too high, and that the patient does not become addicted.

Avenues Recovery, a leading provider of drug detox and rehab, discusses the use of fentanyl patches, and how they work to provide pain relief.

What are Fentanyl Patches Used for?

Fentanyl patches are used on prescription by patients who have chronic pain and a tolerance to other opioids. These patches work as a delivery system to help the patient receive fentanyl at a controlled rate for about 72 hours. The patient with chronic pain will be able to enjoy relief all the time, without interruption like through other methods. 

A fentanyl patch is given to anyone who needs to use fentanyl for medical conditions. Due to the potential for fentanyl patch abuse, it is often only given as a prescription. It is common for doctors to prescribe a fentanyl patch for cancer patients who need help with some of the chronic pain that comes with the disease. 

For those who are addicted to fentanyl, the patch can provide them with the substance to prevent withdrawal symptoms.

How Do Fentanyl Patches Work?

Fentanyl patches work by acting on the opioid receptors of the brain, to alter how the brain experiences and reacts to the pain. When the fentanyl transdermal patch is placed onto the skin, the fentanyl permeates through and slowly releases into the bloodstream over 72 hours. 

Fentanyl patch placement is simple but needs to be carried out correctly for safe use. It must be applied to a fleshy region of the body, such as the upper arm or leg, the flank, the back, or the chest. Before placing this on the body, the surface needs to be cleaned with plain water.

This patch provides a continuous stream of fentanyl to the user, but it does need to be replaced every 72 hours. The new patch needs to be placed on a different part of the body for the most effectiveness.

If you are unsure how to use a fentanyl patch, it is best to consult the medical professional who prescribed the patch.

What Does a Fentanyl Patch Look Like?

The fentanyl transdermal patch has three layers to it. The first layer is the adhesive underlayer that attaches to the skin. This can be made out of silicone in most cases, though there are different options based on whether the patient has any allergies or not.

The upper layer is the backing layer. This is often made out of a softer polyester that can’t catch or stick onto anything. This makes it easier to wear all day long, without the patch catching on clothes or anything else.

Placed in between these two parts is the fentanyl. This has its own layer. When it is placed over the adhesive part, the fentanyl can permeate into the skin and the bloodstream. Fentanyl is lipid-soluble, so with proper fentanyl patch placement, it can easily enter through the skin to give the best results.

How Much is a Fentanyl Patch Dosage?

The amount of fentanyl found in these patches will depend on what is prescribed to the patient. The patch often changes in size based on the dosages as well. 

For example, a 10 cm2 patch of fentanyl provides the patient with 25 mcg of fentanyl each hour. There are different doses of fentanyl, including 12, 25, 50, 75, or 100 mcg per hour. You can choose to work with your doctor to get the right fentanyl patch dosage.

What is the Street Value of Fentanyl Patches?

The fentanyl patch price on the street is fairly inexpensive, making it a more effective and affordable way of getting fentanyl for some. 

While many patients get their first dose of fentanyl from their doctor to treat a condition, many become addicted to the substance and wish to continue using it, even after their prescription is through. These people turn to the streets to get hold of the fentanyl transdermal patch. 

The exact price of the drug depends on the fentanyl patch dosage. It is estimated that a patch can cost around $40 on the street and will provide 72 hours of extended-release fentanyl into the bloodstream.

Is Fentanyl Patch Withdrawal Possible?

It is possible to have fentanyl patch withdrawal, even if it is used correctly. Whether the individual is using the patch based on a doctor's recommendation or receives it on the streets, they can go through withdrawal when discontinuing fentanyl patch use.

These fentanyl patches are meant for the treatment of chronic pain, and the patient may use the medication for a prolonged period. This can result in the patient becoming dependent on the medication. Fentanyl patch withdrawal symptoms can be severe when the medicine is discontinued. Sometimes these show up even after the dosage of fentanyl is reduced.

While these symptoms are usually not life-threatening, they are not pleasant and are enough to cause the patient to relapse. Some fentanyl patch withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle and bone pain
  • Nausea

The withdrawal period of any medication always depends on the drug half-life. Since the fentanyl patch's half-life is 17 hours, the withdrawal period is longer. While other opioids have a withdrawal period of 4 to 10 days, fentanyl withdrawal can take 10 to 20 days. It is best to work through any addiction withdrawal symptoms with the help of your doctor.

Is It Possible to Overdose on a Fentanyl Patch?

Fentanyl is a powerful substance. It is considered 50 times more potent than heroin, which means that fentanyl patch abuse can lead to overdose. 

If a patient does not get adequate care while using the patches, or if certain medications are combined with the fentanyl patch, an accidental overdose is possible. 

Several symptoms point to an overdose on a fentanyl patch, including:

  1. Respiratory depression involving shallow or slow breathing
  2. Constricted pupils
  3. Loss of consciousness
  4. Clammy skin and a lower body temperature
  5. Loss of muscle tone as the body starts to become limp
  6. Fingertips and lips that turn purple or blue
  7. Low blood pressure.

Patients should only use the fentanyl patch in the way that it is prescribed. Taking more of the patch than necessary, not moving it around, or attempting to get more of the patches when the treatment is done can all lead to a fentanyl overdose.

Treatment for Fentanyl Patch Addiction

Many people have found themselves addicted to fentanyl patches. Sometimes, a person won’t realize that they are addicted right away, and they won’t discontinue fentanyl patch use because of the severe withdrawal symptoms. 

If you or a loved one are addicted to fentanyl patches, treatment is available. Contact Avenues Recovery and discover supportive professionals who will be by your side throughout the recovery process. The path to healing is just around the corner.


Check your insurance

We received your insurance request!

We will get back to you shortly. While you wait... you may find our resource blog helpful. Take a look below: