The FDA reminds patients who use fentanyl patches for pain to take special care storing, using, and discarding them.
Recently the FDA evaluated 26 cases of children’s accidents that involved the patches including 10 deaths and 12 hospitalizations. Sixteen children were under two years of age.
Problems included curious children finding patches in the trash or stored within their reach. In addition, loose patches transferred the potent narcotic medicine to children who were being held or carried. Even used patches can still contain significant amounts of fentanyl, enough to seriously hurt a child.
Before using either the brand name Duragesic® or generic fentanyl transdermal system patches, read the FDA approved Medication Guide.
- Storing fentanyl patches where children cannot reach them, including in locked cabinets or behind child-safe latches.
- Making sure patches are firmly attached. Patches can be covered with special Bioclusive™ or Tegaderm™ see-through adhesive dressings for extra security, but don’t use any other bandage or tape. Check the patch often to make sure it is still securely in place.
- Disposing of fentanyl patches properly. Fold the sticky sides together and flush down the toilet. Do not put in the trash.
Early signs of fentanyl exposure may be hard to notice in children. If there is any reason to suspect an infant or child has come into contact with fentanyl, get emergency help right away.
Image courtesy of the FDA.