Actiq oral transmucosal

Name: Actiq oral transmucosal

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

Fentanyl citrate (Actiq) can slow or stop your breathing, and may be habit-forming. Use only your prescribed dose. Never share this medicine with another person.

MISUSE OF ACTIQ CAN CAUSE DEATH, especially in a child who gets a hold of an Actiq unit and places it in the mouth. Keep this medicine out of the reach of children.

Fentanyl citrate may cause life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in a newborn if the mother has used this medicine during pregnancy.

Do not drink alcohol. Dangerous side effects or death could occur.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. A fentanyl overdose can be fatal, especially in a child or other person using the medicine without a prescription. Overdose symptoms may include slow breathing and heart rate, severe drowsiness, muscle weakness, cold and clammy skin, pinpoint pupils, and fainting.

What other drugs will affect fentanyl citrate?

Some drugs can raise or lower your blood levels of fentanyl, which may cause side effects or make fentanyl less effective. Tell your doctor if you also use certain antibiotics, antifungal medications, heart or blood pressure medications, or medicines to treat HIV or AIDS.

Fentanyl can interact with many other drugs and cause dangerous side effects or death. Be sure your doctor knows if you also use:

  • other narcotic medications--opioid pain medicine or prescription cough medicine;

  • drugs that make you sleepy or slow your breathing--a sleeping pill, muscle relaxer, sedative, tranquilizer, or antipsychotic medicine; or

  • drugs that affect serotonin levels in your body--medicine for depression, Parkinson's disease, migraine headaches, serious infections, or prevention of nausea and vomiting.

This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with fentanyl citrate, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.

What is Actiq?

Actiq (fentanyl citrate) is an opioid pain medication. An opioid is sometimes called a narcotic.

Actiq treats "breakthrough" cancer pain that is not controlled by other medicines. This medicine is not for treating pain that is not cancer-related, such as migraine headaches or pain after surgery.

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

Important information

Actiq can slow or stop your breathing, and may be habit-forming. Use only your prescribed dose. Never share this medicine with another person.

MISUSE OF FENTANYL CITRATE CAN CAUSE DEATH, especially in a child who gets a hold of an Actiq unit and places it in the mouth. Keep this medicine out of the reach of children.

Actiq may cause life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in a newborn if the mother has used this medicine during pregnancy.

Do not drink alcohol. Dangerous side effects or death could occur.

How should I use Actiq?

Use Actiq exactly as prescribed. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Never use this medicine in larger amounts, or for longer than prescribed. Tell your doctor if the medicine seems to stop working as well in relieving your pain.

Fentanyl may be habit-forming. Never share this medicine with another person, especially someone with a history of drug abuse or addiction. Keep the medication in a place where others cannot get to it. Selling or giving away this medicine is against the law.

Fentanyl can slow or stop your breathing. MISUSE OF FENTANYL CAN CAUSE DEATH, especially in a child who gets a hold of an Actiq unit and places it in the mouth. Read all patient instructions carefully before using this medicine.

The Actiq transmucosal unit is a fentanyl citrate lozenge attached to a plastic handle. Each unit is wrapped in a child-proof blister pack. Cut the blister pack open with scissors when you are ready to use the unit.

Place the medicine in your mouth between your cheek and gum, and hold the handle with your fingers. Twirl the handle to move the medicine around in your mouth while sucking on it.

Allow the medicine to dissolve in your mouth for 15 minutes. Swallow when needed. Do not bite or chew the lozenge. Do not eat or drink anything while the unit is in your mouth. If you need to use a second unit, wait at least 15 minutes after you have finished the first unit. Use only 1 Actiq unit at a time.

If you feel dizzy or sick to your stomach before the medicine has completely dissolved, stop using the unit and call your doctor.

Do not stop using any other pain medicines your doctor has prescribed for you.

If you switch from using Actiq to using other forms of fentanyl, you will not use the same dose. Many forms of fentanyl are given at lower doses than Actiq. If you use the same dose of each medication, you may have life-threatening overdose symptoms.

Pay special attention to your dental hygiene. This medicine can cause dry mouth leading to tooth decay.

Do not stop using Actiq suddenly, or you could have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Ask your doctor how to safely stop using this medicine.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Leave each unit in its child-proof blister pack until you are ready to use it.

Keep track of how many Actiq units have been used from each new supply of this medicine. Fentanyl citrate is a drug of abuse and you should be aware if anyone is using your medicine improperly or without a prescription.

Keep both used and unused Actiq units out of the reach of children or pets. The amount of fentanyl citrate in the Actiq unit can be fatal to a child who accidentally sucks on or swallows the unit. Seek emergency medical attention if this happens.

Actiq comes with a kit and instructions for storing and disposing of the units.

After you have stopped using this medication, use wire-cutting pliers to cut the handles off any unused Actiq lozenges. Do not keep leftover lozenges. Ask your pharmacist where to locate a drug take-back disposal program. If there is no take-back program, follow the instructions provided with Actiq when disposing of unused medicine.

Actiq side effects

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

Like other narcotic medicines, fentanyl can slow your breathing. Death may occur if breathing becomes too weak.

Remove the Actiq unit from your mouth and call your doctor at once if you have:

  • weak or shallow breathing;

  • confusion, extreme drowsiness; or

  • a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out.

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 Actiq side effects may include:

  • dizziness, mild drowsiness, depressed mood;

  • sleep problems (insomnia);

  • headache, weakness, anxiety;

  • nausea, vomiting, constipation; or

  • mild rash.

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.

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to fentanyl: buccal film, buccal tablet, compounding powder, injectable solution, intravenous solution, nasal spray, oral lozenge, oral transmucosal lozenge, sublingual spray, sublingual tablet, transdermal device, transdermal film extended release


The most commonly reported adverse reactions included headache, nausea, vomiting, ,dizziness, and constipation.[Ref]

Nervous system

Very common (10% or more): Somnolence, dizziness
Common (1% to 10%): Sedation, pyrexia, fatigue, lethargy, tremor, headache, chills, irritability, malaise, confusion, abnormal thinking, anxiety, dysphoria
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Hyperesthesia
Very rare (less than 0.01%): Severe hemiplegic migraine
Frequency not reported: Slurred speech, paresthesia, hypesthesia, tremor
Postmarketing reports: Loss of consciousness, vertigo, coma, shock, convulsion[Ref]

Cases of seizures have occasionally been reported, but some investigators have suggested that the seizure-like events reported may have been episodes of fentanyl induced-rigidity.[Ref]


One report has suggested that epidural fentanyl (the active ingredient contained in Actiq) may mask the pain of myocardial ischemia in patients treated with fentanyl for other reasons. Another report has suggested that QTc interval prolongation may occur in some patients receiving the related narcotic sufentanil. Another report has implicated fentanyl as a potential cause of pulsus alternans in a patient with aortic stenosis and congestive heart failure.

Nevertheless, fentanyl has been advocated by some as a satisfactory agent for coronary artery surgery.[Ref]

Common (1% to 10%): Tachycardia
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Sinus tachycardia, chest pain, hypertension, hypotension, palpitations
Rare (less than 0.1%): Arrhythmias, cardiac arrest
Frequency not reported: Syncope, vasodilation, bradycardia, bigeminy, myocardial infarct
Postmarketing reports: Circulatory depression[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Nausea (18%), vomiting (10%), constipation
Common (1% to 10%): Dry mouth, abdominal distension, gastritis, dysphagia, dyspepsia, gastroesophageal reflux disease, ascites, hematemesis, taste perversion, abdominal pain, dehydration, anorexia, cachexia, vomiting, dry mouth, mouth ulcers/stomatitis, tongue edema
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Abdomen enlarged, flatulence
Rare (less than 0.1%): Choledochoduodenal sphincter spasm
Frequency not reported: Diarrhea
Postmarketing reports: Ileus, dental caries, tooth loss, gingival recession, gingivitis, gingival bleeding, lip edema, pharyngeal edema, gum bleeding, ulcer[Ref]


Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Urinary retention
Very rare (less than 0.01%): Priapism
Frequency not reported: Urinary tract infection, urination impaired, hematuria, urinary urgency, dysuria[Ref]


Approximately 60% of patients had some redness at the skin site 24-hours after removal of the iontophoretic transdermal system. The majority of skin events were categorized as mild, erythema and papules were observed; 2 patients had hyperpigmentation at the application site lasting 2 to 3 weeks; 3 patients had a rectangular mark at the application site which persisted for up to 3 months.[Ref]

Very common(10% or more): Iontophoretic transdermal system: Application site reaction-Erythema (14%)
Common (1% to 10%): Application site irritation, pruritus
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Hyperhidrosis, rash
Rare (less than 0.1%): Systemic rashes
Frequency not reported: vesicles, papules/pustules, dry and flaky skin, vesiculobullous rash wound site oozing/bleeding, wound site inflammation/erythema
Postmarketing reports: Application site discharge, application site bleeding, application site infection, rash and scab, erosion, hyperesthesia, application site necrosis[Ref]


Rare (less than 0.1%): Anaphylaxis[Ref]


The hemolysis observed may have been related to rapid injection of large volumes of hypotonic fentanyl (the active ingredient contained in Actiq) solution. The authors therefore recommend slower injection rates and/or mixture in isotonic fluid.[Ref]

Common (1% to 10%): Anemia, neutropenia, lymphadenopathy, thrombocytopenia, leukopenia, aspartate aminotransferase increased, blood alkaline phosphatase increased, blood glucose increased, blood lactate increased, hypoalbuminemia, vasodilation[Ref]


Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Oral candidiasis, cellulitis, pneumonia, urinary tract infection, oral herpes, gastroenteritis, laryngitis
Very rare (less than 0.01%): Recurrent herpes simplex infection following epidural administration[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Asthenia, peripheral edema, weight decreased, hypokalemia, hyponatremia, hypocalcemia
Very rare (less than 0.01%): Syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone
Frequency not reported: abnormal healing, dehydration[Ref]


Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Hot flush[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Fall/accidental injury, back pain, arthralgia, joint swelling, muscular weakness, myoclonus, involuntary muscle contractions, muscle rigidity (involving the respiratory musculature including the glottis)
Frequency not reported: Leg cramps, myalgia
Postmarketing reports: Abnormal gait/incoordination[Ref]


Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Vision blurred, dry eye
Rare (less than 0.1%): Abnormal vision[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Depression, confusional state, hallucination, insomnia
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Anxiety, agitation, restlessness, agitation, disorientation, abnormal dreams, depersonalization, depression, emotional lability, euphoria, delirium
Frequency not reported: Nervousness[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Dyspnea, rhinitis, yawning, respiratory distress, apnea, bradypnea, hypoventilation, respiratory depression
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Cough, increased bronchial secretion, dysphonia, pharyngolaryngeal pain, wheezing, hypoxia, exertional dyspnea
Very rare (less than 0.01%): Acute noncardiogenic pulmonary edema
Frequency not reported: Asthma, hiccup, atelectasis, hyperventilation
Postmarketing reports: Respiratory arrest[Ref]

Some side effects of Actiq may not be reported. Always consult your doctor or healthcare specialist for medical advice. You may also report side effects to the FDA.