Fentanyl nasal spray is used to treat breakthrough pain (sudden episodes of pain that occur despite round the clock treatment with pain medication) in cancer patients 18 years of age or older who are taking regularly scheduled doses of another narcotic (opiate) pain medication, and who are tolerant (used to the effects of the medication) to narcotic pain medications. Fentanyl is in a class of medications called narcotic (opiate) analgesics. It works by changing the way the brain and nervous system respond to pain.
Side Effects Of Fentanyl Nasal Spray
Fentanyl nasal spray may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience this symptom, call your doctor immediately:
- slow heartbeat
- agitation, hallucinations (seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist), fever, sweating, confusion, fast heartbeat, shivering, severe muscle stiffness or twitching, loss of coordination, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
- nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, weakness, or dizziness
- inability to get or keep an erection
- irregular menstruation
- decreased sexual desire
If you experience any of these symptoms, stop using fentanyl nasal spray and call your doctor immediately or get emergency medical treatment:
- slow, shallow breathing
- decreased urge to breathe
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
- extreme drowsiness
Fentanyl nasal spray may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while using this medication.
Warnings & Precautions
Before using fentanyl nasal spray:
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to fentanyl patches, injections, nasal sprays, tablets, lozenges, or films; any other medications; or any of the ingredients in fentanyl nasal spray. Ask your pharmacist or check the Medication Guide for a list of the ingredients.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, and nutritional supplements you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention the medications listed in the WARNINGS section and any of the following medications: antihistamines; barbiturates such as phenobarbital; buprenorphine (Buprenex, Subutex, in Suboxone); butorphanol; carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Epitol, Tegretol, Teril); cyclobenzaprine (Amrix); dextromethorphan (found in many cough medications; in Nuedexta); efavirenz (in Atripla, Sustiva); lithium (Lithobid); medications for migraine headaches such as almotriptan (Axert), eletriptan (Relpax), frovatriptan (Frova), naratriptan (Amerge), rizatriptan (Maxalt), sumatriptan (Alsuma, Imitrex, in Treximet), and zolmitriptan (Zomig); mirtazapine (Remeron); modafinil (Provigil); nalbuphine; naloxone (Evzio, Narcan); nasal decongestants such as oxymetazoline (Afrin, Neo-Synephrine, Vicks Sinex, others); nevirapine (Viramune); oxcarbazepine (Trileptal); pentazocine (Talwin); phenytoin (Dilantin, Phenytek); pioglitazone (Actos, in Actoplus Met, in Duetact, others); rifabutin (Mycobutin); rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane, in Rifamate, in Rifater); 5HT3 serotonin blockers such as alosetron (Lotronex), dolasetron (Anzemet), granisetron (Kytril), ondansetron (Zofran, Zuplenz), or palonosetron (Aloxi); selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors such as citalopram (Celexa), escitalopram (Lexapro), fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem, in Symbyax), fluvoxamine (Luvox), paroxetine (Brisdelle, Prozac, Pexeva), and sertraline (Zoloft); serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors such as desvenlafaxine (Khedezla, Pristiq), duloxetine (Cymbalta), milnacipran (Savella), and venlafaxine (Effexor); oral steroids such as dexamethasone, methylprednisolone (Medrol), and prednisone (Rayos); trazodone (Oleptro); and tricyclic antidepressants (‘mood elevators’) such as amitriptyline, clomipramine (Anafranil), desipramine (Norpramin), doxepin (Silenor), imipramine (Tofranil), nortriptyline (Pamelor), protriptyline (Vivactil), and trimipramine (Surmontil). Also, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking or receiving any of the following medications or if you have stopped taking them within the past two weeks: monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors including isocarboxazid (Marplan), linezolid (Zyvox), methylene blue, phenelzine (Nardil), selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam, Zelapar), or tranylcypromine (Parnate). Many other medications may also interact with fentanyl, so be sure to tell your doctor about all the medications you are taking, even those that do not appear on this list. Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
- tell your doctor what herbal products you are taking, especially St. John’s wort and tryptophan.
- tell your doctor if you or anyone in your family drinks or has ever drunk large amounts of alcohol or uses or has ever used street drugs or excessive amounts of prescription medications. Also tell your doctor if you have a runny nose or have or have ever had a head injury, a stroke, or any other condition that caused high pressure inside your skull; seizures; slowed heartbeat or other heart problems; low blood pressure; difficulty urinating; mental problems such as depression, schizophrenia (a mental illness that causes disturbed or unusual thinking, loss of interest in life, and strong or inappropriate emotions), or hallucinations (seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist); breathing problems such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD; a group of lung diseases that includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema); or kidney or liver disease.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. If you become pregnant while using fentanyl nasal spray, call your doctor.
- you should know that this medication may decrease fertility in men and women. Talk to your doctor about the risks of using fentanyl nasal spray.
- if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are using fentanyl nasal spray.
- you should know that fentanyl nasal spray may make you drowsy or dizzy. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this medication affects you.
- you should know that fentanyl nasal spray may cause dizziness, lightheadedness, and fainting when you get up too quickly from a lying position. To avoid this problem, get out of bed slowly, resting your feet on the floor for a few minutes before standing up.
- you should know that fentanyl nasal spray may cause constipation. Talk to your doctor about changing your diet and using other medications to treat or prevent constipation.
Fentanyl Nasal Spray Dosage
Fentanyl nasal spray comes as a solution (liquid) to spray in the nose. It is used as needed to treat breakthrough pain but not more often than four times per day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand.
Your doctor will start you on a low dose of fentanyl nasal spray and gradually increase your dose until you find the dose that will relieve your breakthrough pain. Talk to your doctor about how well the medication is working and whether you are experiencing any side effects so that your doctor can decide whether your dose should be adjusted. If you still have pain 30 minutes after using fentanyl nasal spray, your doctor may tell you to use another pain medication to relieve that pain and may increase your dose of fentanyl nasal spray to treat your next episode of pain. Do not increase your dose of fentanyl nasal spray unless your doctor tells you that you should.
Do not use fentanyl nasal spray more than four times a day. Call your doctor if you experience more than four episodes of breakthrough pain per day. Your doctor may need to adjust the dose of your other pain medication(s) to better control your pain.
Do not stop using fentanyl nasal spray without talking to your doctor. If you suddenly stop using fentanyl nasal spray, you may experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.
To use fentanyl nasal spray, follow these steps:
- Blow your nose, if you have a runny nose.
- Remove the cap from the child-resistant container and take the bottle of fentanyl nasal spray out. Remove the protective cap from the bottle tip. Hold the bottle so that the nozzle is between your first and second fingers and your thumb is on the bottom.
- If you are using a new bottle, you must prime the bottle before use. Prime the bottle by spraying 4 sprays into the pouch following the manufacturer’s instructions in the Medication Guide.
- Sit upright and insert the tip of the bottle approximately 1/2 inch (1 cm) into one nostril, pointing the tip toward the bridge of your nose. Close your other nostril with your finger.
- Press down firmly on the finger grips until you hear a ”click” sound. You may not feel the spray go into your nose, but as long as the number in the counting window increases by 1, the spray has been given.
- Breathe in gently through your nose and out through your mouth one time after spraying. Do not sniff after spraying the medication into your nose.
- If your doctor wants you to use two sprays, repeat steps 4 through 6, using your other nostril.
- When the number in the counting window is an ”8”, do not try to use any more sprays from the bottle. There will still be some liquid in the bottle that will need to be sprayed in the pouch following the manufacturer’s instructions in the Medication Guide.
- Stay sitting down for at least 1 minute after using fentanyl nasal spray.
- Do not blow your nose for at least 30 minutes after using fentanyl nasal spray.
- Replace the protective cap on the bottle and put the bottle back in the child-resistant container, out of reach of children.
Keep all appointments with your doctor and laboratory. Your doctor will order certain lab tests to check your body’s response to fentanyl nasal spray.
Before having any laboratory test (especially those that involve methylene blue), tell your doctor and the laboratory personnel that you are using fentanyl.
Do not let anyone else use your medication, even if he or she has the same symptoms that you have. Selling or giving away this medication may cause severe harm or death to others and is against the law.
This prescription is not refillable. Be sure to schedule appointments with your doctor on a regular basis so that you do not run out of medication.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
All information has been provided courtesy of MedLinePlus from the National Library of Medicine and from the FDA.