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Drugs & Medications

Abstral sublingual

GENERIC NAME(S): FENTANYL CITRATE

WARNINGS:

See also Uses and How To Use sections.

Fentanyl has a high risk for abuse and severe, possibly fatal, breathing problems. Do not use fentanyl sublingual tablets unless you have been regularly taking moderate to large amounts of narcotic pain medication. Otherwise, it may cause overdose (even death). The risk for harm is higher if you take the wrong dose/strength, or if you take it along with other drugs that might also affect breathing. It might also be higher when you start this medication and after a dose increase. Get medical help right away if you notice unusual slow/shallow breathing.

Carefully follow the specific directions for using fentanyl sublingual tablets. Since they are not taken the same way, different forms of fentanyl (including lozenges, buccal tablets, patches) do not have the same effects at equal strengths and should not be substituted for each other. Tell your doctor or pharmacist of all medications that you use, especially of drugs that can affect how fentanyl works (see also Drug Interactions section). Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.

Keep this medicine in a safe place to prevent theft, misuse, or abuse. If a child accidentally swallows this drug, get medical help right away.

Because of the risk of misuse, abuse, and overdose, you will need to register with a special distribution program (ABSTRAL REMS) before receiving your prescription. Only doctors and pharmacies enrolled in this program may prescribe or dispense this medication. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for details.

Who should not take Abstral sublingual?
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Uses

This medication is used to help relieve sudden (breakthrough) pain in people who are already taking narcotic medication around-the-clock for cancer pain. Fentanyl belongs to a class of drugs known as narcotic (opiate) analgesics. It works in the brain to change how your body feels and responds to pain.

This medication should not be used to relieve mild or short-term pain (such as due to headache/migraine, dental procedures, surgery).

How to use Abstral sublingual

Read the Medication Guide provided by your pharmacist before you start using fentanyl and each time you get a refill. Learn all usage and disposal instructions. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Use fentanyl sublingual tablets as directed by your doctor. If your mouth is dry, take a sip of water to moisten it before using this medication. Spit out or swallow the water. With dry hands, open the blister pack unit just before using. Do not push the tablet through the foil of the blister pack because this could damage the tablet. Place the tablet in your mouth under your tongue, as far back as you can. If your dose is for more than one tablet, spread them around the floor of your mouth under your tongue. Do not break, bite, chew, suck, or swallow the tablet whole. Do not eat or drink anything until the tablet dissolves completely.

The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. To reduce your risk of side effects, your doctor may direct you to start this medication at a low dose and gradually increase your dose. Follow your doctor's instructions carefully. If you need a second dose, wait 30 minutes after starting the first dose. Do not use more than 2 doses per episode of breakthrough pain. Wait at least 2 hours before using fentanyl sublingual tablets again for another episode of breakthrough pain. Do not increase your dose or use this drug more often or for longer than prescribed.

Pain medications work best if they are used as the first signs of pain occur. If you wait until the pain has worsened, the medication may not work as well.

You should continue to also take your around-the-clock narcotic medication as directed by your doctor. Other non-narcotic pain relievers (such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen) may also be prescribed with this medication. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions about using fentanyl safely with other drugs.

This medication may cause withdrawal reactions, especially if it has been used regularly for a long time or in high doses. In such cases, withdrawal symptoms (such as restlessness, watering eyes, runny nose, nausea, sweating, muscle aches) may occur if you suddenly stop using this medication. To prevent withdrawal reactions, your doctor may reduce your dose gradually. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more details, and report any withdrawal reactions immediately.

When this medication is used for a long time, it may not work as well. Talk with your doctor if this medication stops working well.

Along with its benefits, this medication may rarely cause abnormal drug-seeking behavior (addiction). This risk may be increased if you have abused alcohol or drugs in the past. Take this medication exactly as prescribed to lessen the risk of addiction.

Avoid eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice while using this medication unless your doctor or pharmacist says you may do so safely. Grapefruit can increase the chance of side effects with this medicine. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more details.

Tell your doctor if your pain persists or worsens, if you have more than 4 episodes of breakthrough pain daily, or if you need to use 2 doses of medication for each episode of pain.

Side Effects

Nausea, vomiting, constipation, lightheadedness, dizziness, drowsiness, or headache may occur. Some of these side effects may decrease after you have been using this medication for a while. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

To prevent constipation, eat a diet adequate in fiber, drink plenty of water, and exercise. Ask your pharmacist for help in selecting a laxative (such as a stimulant type with stool softener).

To reduce the risk of dizziness and lightheadedness, get up slowly when rising from a sitting or lying position.

Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.

Tell your doctor right away if any of these serious side effects occur: mental/mood changes (such as agitation, confusion, hallucinations), severe stomach/abdominal pain, difficulty urinating.

Get medical help right away if any of these serious side effects occur: fainting, seizure, slow/shallow breathing, unusual drowsiness/difficulty waking up.

A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.

This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

In the US -

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.

Precautions

Before taking fentanyl, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: brain disorders (such as head injury, tumor, seizures), breathing problems (such as asthma, sleep apnea, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease-COPD), kidney disease, liver disease, mental/mood disorders (such as confusion, depression), personal or family history of regular use/abuse of drugs/alcohol, stomach/intestinal problems (such as blockage, constipation, diarrhea due to infection, paralytic ileus), difficulty urinating (such as due to enlarged prostate), gallbladder disease, disease of the pancreas (pancreatitis).

This drug may make you dizzy or drowsy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires alertness until you are sure you can perform such activities safely. Avoid alcoholic beverages.

Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).

Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially confusion, dizziness, drowsiness, and slow/shallow breathing.

Before using this medication, women of childbearing age should talk with their doctor(s) about the risks and benefits. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or if you plan to become pregnant. During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. It may slightly increase the risk of birth defects if used during the first two months of pregnancy. Also, using it for a long time or in high doses near the expected delivery date may harm the unborn baby. To lessen the risk, use the smallest effective dose for the shortest possible time. Tell the doctor right away if you notice any symptoms in your newborn baby such as slow/shallow breathing, irritability, abnormal/persistent crying, vomiting, or diarrhea.

This drug passes into breast milk and may rarely have undesirable effects on a nursing infant. Tell the doctor immediately if your baby develops unusual sleepiness, difficulty feeding, or trouble breathing. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.

Interactions

Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.

Some products that may interact with this drug include: certain pain medications (mixed narcotic agonist-antagonists such as pentazocine, nalbuphine, butorphanol), narcotic antagonists (such as naltrexone).

Taking MAO inhibitors with this medication may cause a serious (possibly fatal) drug interaction. Avoid taking MAO inhibitors (isocarboxazid, linezolid, methylene blue, moclobemide, phenelzine, procarbazine, rasagiline, selegiline, tranylcypromine) during treatment with this medication. Most MAO inhibitors should also not be taken for two weeks before treatment with this medication. Ask your doctor when to start or stop taking this medication.

Other medications can affect the removal of fentanyl from your body, which may affect how fentanyl works. Examples include cimetidine, nefazodone, St. John's wort, azole antifungals including itraconazole/ketoconazole, calcium channel blockers such as diltiazem/verapamil, HIV drugs such as nelfinavir/ritonavir, macrolide antibiotics including erythromycin, rifamycins including rifampin, certain anti-seizure medicines including carbamazepine, among others.

The risk of serious side effects (such as slow/shallow breathing, severe drowsiness/dizziness) may be increased if this medication is taken with other products that may also affect breathing or cause drowsiness. Therefore, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking other products such as alcohol, allergy or cough-and-cold products, anti-seizure drugs (such as phenobarbital), medicine for sleep or anxiety (such as alprazolam, diazepam, zolpidem), muscle relaxants, other narcotic pain relievers (such as codeine), and psychiatric medicines (such as risperidone, amitriptyline, trazodone). Your medications or doses of your medications may need to be changed.

This medication may interfere with certain laboratory tests (including amylase/lipase levels), possibly causing false test results. Make sure laboratory personnel and all your doctors know you use this drug.

Overdose

If overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include: slow breathing, slow heartbeat, loss of consciousness.

Notes

Do not share this medication with others. It is against the law and the medication may cause harm to others.

This medication has been prescribed for your current condition only. Do not use it later for another condition unless told to do so by your doctor. A different medication may be necessary in that case.

Missed Dose

Not applicable.

Storage

Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications away from children and pets.

See also Warning section. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Read the Medication Guide for details. To discard this medication, the FDA recommends flushing down the toilet or pouring into a drain. However, consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.

Information last revised October 2013. Copyright(c) 2013 First Databank, Inc.

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This medicine is a white, oblong tablet imprinted with "8".

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Selected from data included with permission and copyrighted by First Databank, Inc. This copyrighted material has been downloaded from a licensed data provider and is not for distribution, expect as may be authorized by the applicable terms of use.

CONDITIONS OF USE: The information in this database is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of healthcare professionals. The information is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions or adverse effects, nor should it be construed to indicate that use of a particular drug is safe, appropriate or effective for you or anyone else. A healthcare professional should be consulted before taking any drug, changing any diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment.

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