The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics
In Brief: Heat and Transdermal Fentanyl
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Transdermal fentanyl (Duragesic, and others) offers a convenient delivery system for patients with chronic pain1 but it has some drawbacks. One is that exposing the patch to heat, either from an external source, increased exertion or possibly high fever, could increase release of the drug, which might lead to an overdose and fatal respiratory depression.2 A recent article in the NY Times about this problem may have aroused the concerns of some patients using the patches.3

First approved for marketing by the FDA in 19914, transdermal fentanyl provides continuous delivery of the drug for about 3 days. After application of the patch, a depot of fentanyl forms in the upper layers of the skin. Serum concentrations of the drug increase gradually, reaching a peak (Cmax) in 24-72 hours. According to a pharmacokinetic model mentioned in the labeling, ... more      

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Title: In Brief: Heat and Transdermal Fentanyl
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