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fentanyl (injection)

Pronunciation: FEN ta nil

What is the most important information I should know about fentanyl?

You should not receive a fentanyl injection if you are allergic to fentanyl or other narcotic pain medicines.

What is fentanyl?

Fentanyl is an opioid medication used as part of anesthesia to help prevent pain after surgery or other medical procedure.

Fentanyl may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before receiving fentanyl?

You should not be treated with this medicine if you are allergic to fentanyl or other narcotic pain medicines.

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • breathing problems, sleep apnea;
  • a head injury or brain tumor;
  • liver or kidney disease;
  • slow heartbeats; or
  • if you have used an MAO inhibitor (isocarboxazid, linezolid, methylene blue injection, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, tranylcypromine) in the past 14 days.

It is not known whether this medicine will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant.

Fentanyl can pass into breast milk and may cause side effects in the nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding.

How is fentanyl given?

Fentanyl is given as an infusion into a vein. A healthcare provider will give you this injection.

Your breathing, blood pressure, oxygen levels, and other vital signs will be watched closely while you are receiving fentanyl.

You may be given other pain medications to use after your fentanyl treatment is discontinued.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Since fentanyl is given as needed by a healthcare professional for only a short time, you are not likely to be on a dosing schedule.

What happens if I overdose?

Since this medication is given by a healthcare professional in a medical setting, an overdose is unlikely to occur.

What should I avoid after receiving fentanyl?

Fentanyl can cause side effects that may impair your thinking or reactions. You should not plan on driving or doing anything that requires you to be awake and alert right after you are treated with this medication. Dizziness or severe drowsiness can cause falls or other accidents.

Avoid drinking alcohol for several hours after you receive fentanyl.

What are the possible side effects of fentanyl?

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Like other opioid medications, fentanyl can slow or stop your breathing. If your breathing gets too weak, death may occur.

Your caregivers will watch for any of these side effects, which may clear up within minutes after stopping the fentanyl infusion or decreasing the dose:

  • weak or shallow breathing;
  • fast or slow heart rate;
  • stiff muscles; or
  • severe weakness, feeling light-headed or fainting.

Seek medical attention right away if you have symptoms of serotonin syndrome, such as: agitation, hallucinations, fever, sweating, shivering, fast heart rate, muscle stiffness, twitching, loss of coordination, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Common side effects may include:

  • slowed breathing;
  • slow heart rate;
  • muscle stiffness;
  • dizziness, vision problems;
  • nausea, vomiting;
  • itching, sweating; or
  • high blood pressure (confusion, anxiety, pounding in your neck or ears).

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect fentanyl?

Other drugs may affect fentanyl, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.

Where can I get more information?

Your doctor or pharmacist can provide more information about fentanyl.

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Learn how we develop our content.

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Learn how we develop our content.

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