What Does a Fentanyl Patch Look Like?

Fentanyl is one of the most powerful opioids available. It’s described as being anywhere from 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine, and it can be prescribed by a doctor, often to help deal with chronic pain in cancer patients, and in some cases, it has applications during or following surgery, such as in patients with poor heart function.

There are several ways fentanyl may be administered. For example, it may be given as a lollipop, or as a film that dissolves under the tongue. It can also be given intravenously, or as a tablet that dissolves in the mouth.

One of the most common ways fentanyl is given, however, is as a patch, which is called the transdermal route. What fentanyl looks like when it’s given this way is, as the name implies, a patch that goes directly on the skin, somewhat similar to a nicotine patch.

The following details not just what fentanyl looks like in patch form, but other important details about these medicated opioid patches.

What Does a Fentanyl Patch Look Like?
The transdermal fentanyl patch is used to relieve severe pain. It’s primarily intended for people who need long-term around-the-clock pain medicine, and they can’t be treated with other medicines, or are opioid-resistant. One of the main examples of when the fentanyl patch is used is for patients who have cancer, such as in palliative care.

So what does a fentanyl patch look like?

It comes as a thin patch that is applied directly to the skin. It’s relatively small in size and clear and comes in individually wrapped packets. There is a gel-like substance on one side of the patch, which is often called the sticky side. It’s important that this side not be touched, and if it is, people are instructed to rinse their hands thoroughly with water.

There are different brands and doses for fentanyl patches, which may mean that what fentanyl looks like in patch form is slightly different and varied. For example, some might be printed with the brand name, while others might not.

There are also differences not just in what fentanyl looks like in terms of brand, but some are smaller, or more adhesive than others, according to people who use them.

The fentanyl patch is for patients who need long-term pain management, not short-term treatment, and it’s only for use in patients who are taking other narcotic pain medicine on a regular schedule and have become tolerant to the pain-relieving effects.

We touched briefly on what fentanyl looks like above, but below are some more details of not just what fentanyl looks like, but how these patches are used.

First, they come with something called a Medication Guide, explaining how they should be used. The fentanyl patch should be applied only to the skin as swallowing it, chewing it or putting it in your mouth can result in death.

Patches are intended to be applied to a smooth, unbroken area of skin, and they can be worn for a continuous period of 72 hours. Unless a doctor instructs a patient to, more than one patch should never be worn at the same time.

Now that you know what does a fentanyl patch look like, you may be wondering how it works. With the patch, the fentanyl passes through the skin in small doses at a time. A certain amount of the medicine must build up in the skin before it can be absorbed, and it can be up to 24 hours before the effects of the initial dose are felt.

When someone is prescribed a fentanyl patch, their doctor will often adjust the dosage several times in the first few weeks, and during the initial days before the buildup of the drug, people with severe pain may need another narcotic.

The Lonsys Patch is one brand of fentanyl patch used in hospitals, and if someone has one, it must be removed before a person can have an MRI because otherwise, it can lead to skin burns.

People should also realize, in addition to what fentanyl looks like in patch form, that heat can cause the drugs to be absorbed faster, so it’s important the person not take long showers, sunbathe or do similar activities that can make them hotter.

To sum up, the answer to what does a fentanyl patch look like, it looks somewhat like a large, square band-aid, with a sticky gel side. It may be printed depending on the brand and dose.

What Does a Fentanyl Patch Look Like?
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What Does a Fentanyl Patch Look Like? was last modified: June 28th, 2017 by The Recovery Village