Avatar universal

Fentanyl Patch?

Hi!  Thanks for having this online resource!  I'm researching the pro's and con's of the fentanyl patch. My fiance has been in a great deal of back pain and is prescribed oxy's, morphine and percocet.  However, he doesn't take them because they the only things that work for him are 80's and roxy's that he gets from family and friends.  The doctors won't prescribe them so he is not under medical care, he self medicates and even though he doesn't take more than 2 pills a day, I'm still worried.  I urged him to visit a doctor and have medical supervision with all his medication at least until after he has back surgery and hopefully is off pain meds forever after that.  The doctor prescribed the fentanyl patch which he started almost 40 hours ago...now my he is in bed feeling really doped up. They take his pain away so he doesn't need to take any other pills, so that's good...but I'm wondering, is the patch is even harder to get off eventually since it's so strong? What are the withdraws like? Will he be able to function in his daily life and not feel loopy like he has been?  Will he be a slave to these patches so that he'll have to remember to change them every few days...and if he doesn't do it in time will he experience extreme discomfort because of the withdraws?   At least with the pills he could somewhat control the dosage...now it seems like he's always going to be controlled by the drugs, and if he doesn't have the patch will he feel really horrible?  How hard are they to get off after he doesn't need to be medicated any more? We are at the point now where he has a choice, before his body becomes used to them, whether he wants to use them or not.  Any and all insights would be greatly appreciated!  Thanks, A
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198154 tn?1337787265
I'm confused..
you said "prescribed oxy's, morphine and percocet" but he doesnt take them because the only thing that work are "80's and roxy's that he gets from family and friends" but...
80's and Roxi's are oxycodone.  Why does he get them from family & friends if he gets them prescribed?  Then you said- "he is not under medical care" and- "The doctor prescribed the fentanyl patch which he started almost 40 hours ago"

I'm sorry he's in pain, but...Did I miss something?

The Fentanyl Patch is REALLY strong morphine so, if he uses them very long, when he stops using them he will experience withdrawals.

Hope this helps..

Good Luck

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Avatar universal
Withdrawals are very hard from the patch. Do NOT just take the patch off. DO NOT get the patch on your hands and then near your eyes.  Depending on the dosage he most likely should not drive.  The patch is good for before surgery to keep him out of pain.  It's not great if he needs to function.  Try not to mix it with any other pills or alcohol.  He  should not be taking pills from friends or family at all and especially not while on the patch.  Monitor him because he may not be aware of what he is doing and might decide to take a pill.  
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547368 tn?1440541785
Hi Alisunshine,

If he is just laying in bed the dosage of the patch may be too strong for him or it may take a bit for his system to adjust. Do your best to encourage him not to take additional meds unless they are prescribed for him by the same physician. If he is still in bed feeling "doped up" after a few days you may want to have his discuss this with his physician.  

Any narcotic can be produce withdrawal symptoms once you stop taking them.  Fentanyl is 100 times more potent than Morphine. It is an effective medication and generally safe when used as prescribed. We have members that have been on the patch for a number of years.

You should be concerned with your fiance's non-prescribed narcotic use and I don't condone it. However now that he is taking the medication (fentanyl) that his physician has prescribed be supportive. No one knows how tortuous chronic pain can be to deal with on a daily basis unless they have been there.  

He is fortunate to have your concern and support. Best of luck to both of you and feel free to keep in touch.

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748364 tn?1254489645
I'm sorry for your fiance's condition.  I know everyone is focusing in on getting meds from other than doctors.  I too have issues with that as it is addictive behavior.

I am glad a doctor is trying to address the pain med issues.  I, myself, wore a prescribed patch for 2 days and decided that I was so drugged up that I did not want to take that route and would rather deal with pain in other ways.  From the forums on here, fentanyl has one of the most nasty w/d's.

Just my 2 cents...
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Avatar universal
Thank you for your responses.  The other prescribed medications in the past did not react well with Nick's lifestyle.  Morphine made him feel sick and percocet was not strong enough.  The patch seems to be working, but I'm really worried about the future when he will be needing to come off it.  Does anyone have experience with this and are there safe ways to go about getting off the patch once he no longer needs it after surgery?  The patch is good because he is not having to dose himself...so the act of taking drugs is out of the equation.  Hopefully he will no longer have to go through any sources other than the doctor and can get better the right way.  Thanks so much for your replies.  I really appreciate the fact that there is a place like this where we can ask important questions.  These drugs are all really, really dangerous and I'm scared that fentanyl might be too strong.  Then again, roxy and oxy are just as bad and are highly addictive. So, I'm not sure what the best way to deal with the situation.  Fentanyl takes away the pain, but is the price too high to get off it eventually?  I'd like to help him make these decisions soon, before his body gets used to the new meds and he has no other options.  He does travel for business and is constantly having to stay alert, so if the patch's drowsy effects don't wear off in a week or so then we'll have to find another solution!
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Avatar universal
The way I see it is, if the patch takes away the pain, then use it! I wouldn't worry about getting "off" fentanyl any more than getting "off" of any other narcotic pain medication. Withdrawal is withdrawal! I'm certain the prescribing doctor can wean the patient off fentanyl using the lowest fentanyl dose, then switch to another type of narcotic that may be easier to taper off and eventually stop altogether if necessary. I'd worry MUCH more about the narcotics being taken that are from "friends and family", it's dangerous, and stupid if you ask me!  Be thankful he is being treated for his pain in the first place. Sadly, many people in chronic pain are either undertreated, or not treated at all. I'm sorry if my words are a little "harsh", but I feel they need to be said. It's those types of actions that are causing all the "turmoil", and "misconceptions" over narcotic therapy to begin with. I'm done now!
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Avatar universal
No need to apologize, Sean.  You are absolutely right and these matters should not be taken lightly.  This is why I urged my hunny to visit the doctor!  The dosage my fiance normally take of "friends and family" narcotics do not come anywhere near the strength of the fentanyl patch.  It's because of this that the debate still stands.  There are many people who are abusing these drugs and the number of them and danger we are all in when it comes to pharmaceutical dependency grows larger every day...it's a very serious matter.  However, if taken in moderation, as my fiance has been, they can be beneficial.  Unfortunately, his oxy and roxy situation is a double edged sword.  They work, but they are highly addictive and need to be taken whenever the pain comes.  The fentanly patch is a constant flow of pain relief, but it's SO much stronger than what he was doing on his own.  When he was self medicating he was using a lot less, but it was without doctors supervision.  Now the doctor prescribes this wonder drug that takes all the pain away, but it WAY more than what my fiancee is used to having in his system.  

I think that we need to continue to work with the doctor to find the best solution, but it is a wonderful help to hear other opinions on this forum.  Doctors are wise and have the degree because of their knowledge, but sometimes they do not have all the answers.

Please do not hesitate to express yourself fully and honestly. That is why I am asking these questions.  I want to know exactly what he's getting into with this patch.   Thanks again for your input and advices!
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Avatar universal
I agree with you on how useful these forums are. I was prescribed fentanyl a couple of months ago. At the time i was 21 and was told i would need to come off them at some point to have children. However there was no mention by the hospital consultant or local doctors about how dangerous this medication can be and the terrible withdrawls people can get. A suprise considering they all know i will need to come off them eventually. I have been told that when they are prescribed in older people, doctors intend for them to stay on fentanyl for life which is probably why they don't discuss with people such as your husband about withdrawls and how to come of them safely.  All i was told was that if i came off them my pain would return. I think this is an understatement compared to the problems people on this website have suffered with withdrawl. If i had not searched the name of my medication on the internet, i would have had no clue about any of this and am very disappointed in doctors for not mentioning the dangers of this drug. The doctors didn't even tell me that fentanyl is sronger than morphine, the just said it was similar to morphine.

I agree that your husband might be on too higher dose. I was started on the 12mcg per hour strength patches and gradually built up to 50mcg strength patches in several small doses over a 6 week period. Which i found was helpful in working out the minimum dose i would need, rather than overestimating it and getting more side effects.  Although i am still in a lot of pain and was considering increasing the dose, it's better and i do not seem to have some of the side effects to the degree your husband has and so a smaller dose may be better for the drowsyness and concentration. If your husband finds it too strong, he should possibly consider asking the doctor to gradually build him up from the lowest dose over many weeks to reduce the chance of sudden terrible side effects.  I too have also tried many other medications, but they make me really sick (this is the first in 2 and a half years to help the pain without creating more problems), so i can understand why a more stable and constant flow of medication from the patch was suggested and although everyone's body is different, it is probably worth him continuing to search for better medications because not all of them prescribed by a doctor will make him ill. After several years of giving up hope of finding one where the side effects are not to severe, i now know it may be possible to find something that works.

After reading some of the posts and asking for advice myself, i am now going to question my doctor about this medication and like you suggested the pro's and con's of it. I am also going to ask about withdrawls and additional medications. Thankyou for also sharing your story as posts on this website have given me the confidence to question my doctor about fentanyl more without feeling that i was stupid and unneccesarily worrying for nothing. I was going to ask to up my dose, but after hearing some of the side effects, such as your husbands, i am reluctant to do it.

Your right when you say how important these forums are because without them we would never know about how these medicines work for people themselves in everyday life. As doctors have no personal experience of these medications, they can therefore never truly explain to us how it will feel to suffer these side effects or go through withdrawl like the people on this forum can.
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Avatar universal
I am currently taking 200mcg/h and am being increased to 400.  Does anyone know of any issues with such a high dose?  My doc warned me about respiratory issues but very rare and that was it.  So I'm wondering if there are more things to be aware of?
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Avatar universal
Seems to me some on here are frightening off people from Fentanyl patches and not explaining they come in varying strengths! I was on 12mg and now am taking 25mg and have felt NO effects! I am also having PRP treatment for arthritic knee and damages ligaments. Thats more of a worry since I just read that they should not be mixed... interfere with prostaglandins. Too late though as I am having PRP next week again and have been on Fentanyl a month. I still get terrible pain so it isn't working for me and will doubtlessly be upped.
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7721494 tn?1431627964
Fentanyl patches can be an excellent pain medication choice.

This is an old thread filled with stories of people who had trouble stopping the treatment, when an opioid rotation would have made their lives much simpler.

Many have poor choices in their medication management. There's plenty of fools out there hanging up a pain management shingle.

I find it best to let an experienced board certified interventional pain management specialist manage my opioid regimen.

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