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Uses For Abstral
Fentanyl is used to treat severe pain in cancer patients. It is used for breakthrough cancer pain, which are flares of pain that “break through” after a routine pain medicine has been used. Fentanyl belongs to the group of medicines called narcotic analgesics. It is only used in patients who are already taking narcotic analgesics.
Fentanyl acts in the central nervous system (CNS) to relieve pain. Some of its side effects are also caused by actions in the CNS. When a narcotic is used for a long time, it may become habit-forming or cause mental or physical dependence. However, people who have continuous pain should not let the fear of dependence keep them from using narcotics to relieve pain. Mental dependence (addiction) is not likely to occur when narcotics are used for this purpose. Physical dependence may lead to withdrawal side effects if treatment is stopped suddenly. Withdrawal side effects can usually be prevented by gradually reducing the dose over a period of time before the medicine is stopped completely. Talk to your doctor about the benefits of this medicine and how to prevent withdrawal side effects.
This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription. The Abstral®, Actiq®, Fentora®, Onsolis®, and Subsys® products are only available under a restricted distribution program. You will have to read and sign papers that explain how the medicine is used when you pick up your prescription.
Precautions While Using Abstral
It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits. This will allow your doctor to see if the medicine is working properly and to decide if you should continue to take it.
Do not use this medicine for minor aches and pains (eg, headaches, migraines) or after surgery or injuries.
Do not use this medicine if you have taken a monoamine oxidase (MAOI) inhibitor (eg, isocarboxazid phenelzine, selegiline, tranylcypromine, Eldepryl®, Marplan®, Nardil®, or Parnate®) in the past 2 weeks.
Using this medicine while you are pregnant may cause serious unwanted effects in your newborn baby. Tell your doctor right away if you think you are pregnant or if you plan to become pregnant while using this medicine.
Fentanyl is a medicine that can harm or cause death to a child. Patients and caregivers should keep this medicine out of the reach of children. Carefully dispose of any partially used units or unused medicine properly.
This medicine may be habit-forming. If you feel that the medicine is not working as well, do not use more than your prescribed dose. Call your doctor for instructions.
This medicine will add to the effects of alcohol and other central nervous system (CNS) depressants. CNS depressants are medicines that slow down the nervous system, which may cause drowsiness or make you less alert. This effect may last for a few days after you stop using this medicine. Some examples of CNS depressants are antihistamines or medicine for hay fever, allergies, or colds, sedatives, tranquilizers, benzodiazepines, other prescription pain medicine or narcotics, barbiturates or seizure medicines, muscle relaxants, or anesthetics (numbing medicines), including some dental anesthetics. Check with your doctor before taking any of the medicines listed above while you are using this medicine.
Fentanyl may cause some people to become drowsy, confused, or dizzy. Make sure you know how you react to this medicine before you drive, use machines, or do anything else that could be dangerous if you are dizzy or not alert. Check with your doctor if you have confusion or drowsiness that is severe enough to interfere with your daily activities.
Using narcotics for a long time can cause severe constipation. To prevent this, your doctor may tell you to take laxatives, drink fluids, or increase the amount of fiber in your diet. Follow the directions carefully. Constipation that continues can lead to more serious problems.
If you have been using this medicine regularly for several weeks or more, do not suddenly stop using it without checking with your doctor. You may be directed to gradually reduce the amount you are using before stopping it completely to lessen the chance of withdrawal side effects.
Using too much fentanyl, or taking too much of another narcotic with fentanyl, may cause an overdose. If this occurs, get emergency help right away. An overdose can cause severe breathing problems (breathing may even stop), unconsciousness, and death. Serious signs of an overdose include very slow breathing (fewer than 8 breaths each minute) and drowsiness that is so severe you are not able to answer when spoken to, or if asleep, cannot be awakened.
The Actiq® product contains sugar and may increase your chance for tooth decay. Schedule regular dentist visits if you are using Actiq®.
Check with your doctor right away if you have anxiety, restlessness, a fast heartbeat, fever, sweating, muscle spasms, twitching, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or see or hear things that are not there. These may be symptoms of a serious condition called serotonin syndrome. Your risk may be higher if you also take certain other medicines that affect serotonin levels in your body.
Using too much of this medicine may cause reduced infertility (unable to have children). Talk with your doctor before using this medicine if you plan to have children.
Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal (eg, St. John's wort) or vitamin supplements.
Abstral Side Effects
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:More common
- Black, tarry stools
- blurred vision
- chest pain
- decreased urine
- difficult or labored breathing
- dry mouth
- fever or chills
- increased thirst
- irregular heartbeat
- loss of appetite
- lower back or side pain
- mood changes
- muscle pain or cramps
- nausea or vomiting
- numbness or tingling in the hands, feet, or lips
- painful or difficult urination
- pale skin
- pounding in the ears
- rapid breathing
- sore throat
- sunken eyes
- swelling of the hands, ankles, feet, or lower legs
- tightness in the chest
- troubled breathing with exertion
- ulcers, sores, or white spots in the mouth
- unusual bleeding or bruising
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- wrinkled skin
- Abdominal or stomach pain
- change in walking and balance
- clumsiness or unsteadiness
- decreased awareness or responsiveness
- decreased frequency of urination
- muscle twitching or jerking
- pounding in the ears
- rhythmic movement of the muscles
- seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there
- severe constipation
- severe sleepiness
- shakiness in the legs, arms, hands, or feet
- slow or fast heartbeat
- thinking abnormalities
- trembling or shaking of the hands or feet
Get emergency help immediately if any of the following symptoms of overdose occur:Symptoms of overdose
- Extremely shallow or slow breathing
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:More common
- Back pain
- difficulty having a bowel movement (stool)
- difficulty with moving
- feeling sad or empty
- lack or loss of strength
- loss of interest or pleasure
- muscle stiffness
- pain in the joints
- sleepiness or unusual drowsiness
- trouble concentrating
- trouble sleeping
- weight loss
- Changes in vision
- excessive muscle tone
- feeling of constant movement of self or surroundings
- feeling of warmth or heat
- flushing or redness of the skin, especially on the face and neck
- irritation, pain, or sores at the site of application
- itching skin
- muscle tension or tightness
- sensation of spinning
- Tooth pain
- trouble with gums
- trouble with teeth
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Uses of Abstral
- It is used to ease pain.
- This medicine is not for mild pain or pain that only lasts a short time (like headaches, toothaches, or pain after surgery).
What are some things I need to know or do while I take Abstral?
- Tell all of your health care providers that you take Abstral. This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
- Avoid driving and doing other tasks or actions that call for you to be alert until you see how this medicine affects you.
- To lower the chance of feeling dizzy or passing out, rise slowly if you have been sitting or lying down. Be careful going up and down stairs.
- Do not stop taking Abstral all of a sudden without calling your doctor. You may have a greater risk of signs of withdrawal. If you need to stop this medicine, you will want to slowly stop it as ordered by your doctor.
- Do not take more than what your doctor told you to take. Taking more than you are told may raise your chance of very bad side effects.
- Do not take Abstral with other strong pain drugs or if you are using a pain patch without talking to your doctor first.
- Avoid grapefruit and grapefruit juice.
- This medicine may raise the chance of seizures in some people, including people who have had seizures in the past. Talk to your doctor to see if you have a greater chance of seizures while taking this medicine.
- If you are 65 or older, use Abstral with care. You could have more side effects.
- This medicine may cause harm to the unborn baby if you take it while you are pregnant. If you are pregnant or you get pregnant while taking this medicine, call your doctor right away.
How is this medicine (Abstral) best taken?
Use Abstral as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.
- Use right after opening.
- Place under tongue and let melt all the way. Do not chew, suck or swallow tablet.
- Do not eat or drink until this medicine has melted all the way.
- You may wet your mouth with water, if needed, before you take.
What do I do if I miss a dose?
- If you use Abstral on a regular basis, use a missed dose as soon as you think about it.
- If it is close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your normal time.
- Do not use 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.
- Many times this medicine is taken on an as needed basis. Do not take more often than told by the doctor.
What are some other side effects of Abstral?
All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:
- Dry mouth.
- Upset stomach or throwing up.
- Hard stools (constipation).
- Loose stools (diarrhea).
- Feeling sleepy.
- Feeling tired or weak.
- Feeling cold.
- Not hungry.
- Not able to sleep.
- Sweating a lot.
- Belly pain.
- Irritation where Abstral is used.
These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. You may also report side effects at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Do not eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice while using this medication.
Abstral and Pregnancy
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
The FDA categorizes medications based on safety for use during pregnancy. Five categories - A, B, C, D, and X, are used to classify the possible risks to an unborn baby when a medication is taken during pregnancy.
Abstral falls into category C. No well-controlled studies have been done in humans. Therefore, this medication may be used if the potential benefits to the mother outweigh the potential risks to the unborn child.
If you take too much Abstral, call your healthcare provider or local Poison Control Center, or seek emergency medical attention right away.