what is fentanyl
Type of medicine A strong opioid painkiller (analgesic)
Used for Pain relief
Also called Brands of fentanyl patches: Durogesic DTrans®; Fencino®; Fentalis®; Matrifen®; Mezolar®; Osmanil®; Tilofyl®; Victanyl®; Yemex®
Brand of fentanyl lozenges: Actiq®
Brands of fentanyl sublingual tablets: Abstral®
Brand of fentanyl buccal tablets: Effentora®
Brands of fentanyl nasal sprays: Instanyl®; PecFent®
Available as Patch, lozenge, tablets to dissolve in the mouth (buccal), tablets to dissolve under the tongue (sublingual), nasal spray, injection

Fentanyl is an opioid medicine (sometimes called an opiate). It is a strong painkiller. It works by binding to certain tiny areas, called opioid receptors, in your brain and spinal cord (central nervous system). This leads to a decrease in the way you feel pain and your reaction to pain.

If you have pain which is ongoing (chronic), it is likely you will be prescribed a patch containing fentanyl to apply to your skin. This is often called transdermal fentanyl. Patches contain fentanyl in a reservoir and release it gradually over a period of time to give you continual pain relief. Despite this, there may be times when your pain is not fully controlled and you experience breakthrough pain. Fentanyl is also useful for this type of pain, but different formulations are used, such as lozenges, tablets, films or nasal sprays. These fentanyl preparations are taken as necessary to ease breakthrough or severe pain.

Fentanyl is also given by injection to ease pain during surgical operations.

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