Fentanyl Patch Side Effects And Withdrawal Symptoms

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Elizabeth Says:


My husband, age 77, developed severe acute pancreatitis and has been in the hospital for the past 8 months. He has been on Fentanyl patches (the lowest dose) plus some extra fentanyl injections anytime the nurses thought he might be feeling pain. His pancreatitis healed in 3 months, but by then he developed a huge back bed sore. From the beginning, even when they were giving him morphine at the beginning, before the fentanyl patches, he developed breathing and sleeping problems, with intermittent rapid panicky breathing spells. With the patch, he has had also hallucinations and was forever either totally sleepless or totally drowsy. Because of the breathing problems, he has now a tracheatomy. His immune system was also compromised and he had several severe infections, i.e. lung and blood infections. Even though his pancreatitis healed at the end of March, he was still on the Fentanyl patches, because of the bed sore and also, that he might be uncomfortable for being so long in the hospital. Since he was receiving intravenous feeding and antibiotics, he has a line inserted in his arm and because the tracheotomy is limiting his food choices, gets food through a stomach tube. The breathing problems are the worst, since this holds up any progress he might make. The doctors did not want to take the fentanyl patches off. I had finally persuaded the nurses to discontinue them, but then my husband had horrible withdrawal symptoms, with shakes, occasional fever, hallucinations, and again sleeplessness and later total drowsiness. This has been repeating itself for the last 6 weeks, now with the hallucinations and the shakes gone, but still the irregular rapid breathing, agitation, sleeplessness and then excessive drowsiness remaining. He also had a white discharge from his lungs, even he had no infections anymore. How long is this going to continue? Please help.



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PJ Says:

My friend started out with Cancer of the upper soft tissue palat of the mouth. Had 8 Chemo/radiation treatments & Cyber Knife. Now his pain is so severe the 25 mg morphine patches do not help and on his own he is taking several tablets of Camboflam per day with the patches. How dangerous is this & why would the pain be so horrible after all of the treatments he has taken?

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Levi Says:

PJ, what is Camboflam? Never heard of it! Thx, Levi

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navydogpilot Says:

Wow!! I will pray for you and your husband. My only comment is: Was this, or is this occurring in a nursing home? If it is a nursing home, I would seriously question the kind of care he is getting. If it is in a hospital, I would get a second opinion from a different doctor who isn't affiliated with that hospital. Hope this helps.

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BevMar Says:

Oh dear, I am so sorry to hear what he has been through!

The following is from the National Institute of Health (nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a601202.html)

I've no idea how long it will take to withdraw, but if he was on 12mcg/hr, that was a pretty low amount. Have you talked with your doctor about him getting a device for sleep apnea? Although he may not have apena per se, it would help him breath more easily.

Do not stop using fentanyl skin patches without talking to your doctor. Your doctor will probably decrease your dose gradually. If you suddenly stop using fentanyl skin patches you may have symptoms of withdrawal. Call your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms of withdrawal: restlessness, teary eyes, runny nose, yawning, sweating, chills, hair standing on end, muscle aches, large pupils (black circles in the center of the eyes), irritability, anxiety, backache, pain in the joints, weakness, stomach cramps, difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, fast heartbeat, or rapid breathing.

So...that sounds to me that his inability to sleep may be caused by the withdrawal OR could be because of his age. I just turned 73 but have had chronic insomnia for about 7 or 8 years and now take Zolpidem, the brand name is Ambien. If I do not take it at least one hour prior to attempt sleep, I can stay awake for days until I simply pass out.

Many prescription drugs can cause insomnia. I ALWAYS check out any drugs that are prescribed to me by simply going to Google and typing in the name of the drug.

I hope for his total recovery.


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Blessed Says:
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I wrote this reply for a different question but it may have some info regarding withdrawal hopefully to help you decide the lesser of the two situations, taking strong meds or trying to cope with the ailment. But more so, having doctors check for other causes for his symptoms. Good luck. God bless,

I absolutely feel restless leg syndrome (RLS) symptoms are from Fentanyl withdrawal!

I was on 50mcg for over ten years when my doctor told me he would no longer make med check appts for Fentanyl with me. • I had 30 days to locate, get a 1st appt, & establish a relationship with a new pain mgmt doctor.

I could not get a new doctor (had to move to another state) in time and I ran out of patches sending me into Fentanyl withdrawal ••without any medical supervision within hours.

I experienced physical shock of freezing, heavily uncontrolled full body shaking with violent teeth clattering the first 24 hours. As the shock wore off, the RLS symptoms began and almost drove me mad.

I made it throughout by taking my neurontin and percocet scripts at maximum strength around the clock. This seemed to help me with the pain and burning neuropathy I suffer from. But, the only thing that helped with the horrible torturing tickling/buzzing pain like hitting your funny bone hard was to keep my legs in movement constantly.

I literally walked/marched in place for hours at a time until I had to lay down but only so if I could swing my legs back and forth until the RLS got so bad again I would have to get back up and do the march walking again.

This went on for a week but then slowly day by day the RLS started to lighten up some.

I went back on Fentanyl for almost another year and the RLS stopped. I recently went into a coma for a week during which time the hospital did not give me Fentanyl. Since I was fortunate enough to be in a coma during the Fentanyl withdrawal period, I elected not to go back on any •••Fentanyl type medicine when I came too.

Its been almost a month off patches and still taking a small amount of percocet daily but don't seem to have any RLS symptoms unless I lay down in a certain position. Then it feels like light RLS so I just change position.

I do keep experiencing intermiten chill flashes which make me shake but not sure if connected.

• It is almost completely impossible to to get a Fentanyl prescription with a brand new doctor without your previous doctor providing you with a "Pain Treatment History Referral Letter" which my former doctor failed to do.

•• Fentanyl withdrawal should absolutely be medically supervised preferably in a hospital.

••• You are dependent on withdrawal or Fentanyl replacement meds just a much I feel as being stuck on Fentanyl patches so keep or change doctors that listen to you to avoid falling thru the constant overly prescrbbed med trap with their inevitable side effects, which so often than not, leads to needing additional unnecessary medication just to control any side effects you now may have not from the first drug. Which in the long run is not needed after ailment heals BUT you can't tell because now your in the vicious prescription drug dependency cycle!

Good luck!!!



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tina Says:

Help my fentanyl patch feels like im getting too much with the mallin brsnd anyone else hsve this problem PLEASE HELP!!!

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Celeste Says:
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My heart aches for both of you. Typically the PM doctor will gradually lower the dosage of the patch to lighten withdrawal symptoms. Since this did not happen his withdrawals are quite severe. Usually 10 days will make a big difference. It's very unfortunate that he had withdrawals added to his current pain and suffering. I'm not sure why the doctor didn't do more. There are meds available to help significantly with all his symptoms. I also had gone severe withdrawals from the patch. I was uneducated about the danger of doing this. Seizures and respiratory failure have occurred for some during the withdrawal phase. You sound like an angel caring for your husband. I wish it was easier. But there is comfort in knowing that it's almost over. The withdrawals will end soon. God Bless

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P450 Says:

Another old post I see but why take a man that age and so ill off Duragesic. It is cruel and horrific thinking. If I had a spouse that did that I'd manage to get my last strength and kick her ass.

There are no 25 mg. morphine patches, whoever wrote that. Only Fentanyl aka Duragesic. Unless you mean BP patches, sometimes used for pain by opioid phobic physicians Lidoderm.


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MAYDAY Says:

What is of utmost importance when taking any drug is to find out whether you have the right and sufficient enzyme in your body to morph the medicament. I now it is not yet common practice, but it is really advisable to ask for a DNA. Insist on it as only then can you find out whether taking a medicament is going to help you, have adverse effects, or do nothing at all.

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mayday Says:

You say your husband is on owest Fentanyl patch but don't say what that is... because with the morphine added which IS Fentanyl he could be overdosing. I find problems with the patches sticking and the edges are forever coming away from the skin. I also find the Notes for Patient ridiculous. It is stated nothing works for the first 24 hours. Then to put on a new one 72 hours later... None of this makes much sense. We are put on Fentanyl to avoid NSAID's many of us but with nothing happening for 24 hours we are obliged to turn to them! Also my doctor told me to leave the old patch for a while and not take it off when renewing it. I think we must use our own intelligence and if we are in bad pain, then change the patch sooner than 72 hours later. Just my opinion. I now change them every second day and why not since for those fist 24 hours the new one is inactive. Ridiculous Notes for the Patient treat us like morons.

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mayday Says:

PJ you say he is on 25mg Fentanyl? Are you sure? Because if he is on FENTANYL 25 this does not mean 25 mg of morphine! Take a look at the Notes for Patient where it tells you what Fetanyl 25 means as far as dosage is concerned. I am on Fentanyl 50 and the amount of morphine is just over 8mg.

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Melissa Says:
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Mayday you say you change your fentanyl patches every 48 hours even though you're prescribed them for every 72? And how's that working for you? My doctor would kick me off the pain medicine for breaking my "pain contract" if I changed the dosing instructions myself.

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george Says:

OMG I thought I was the only person who had RLS so bad that it required Fentanyl. At the highest I was on 3 patches of 100mcg each. I have worked down to 2 patches and am now trying one. I am so afraid of the withdrawal that I pray I can ween myself off completely. At first, this medication seemed a godsend. I am now always preoccupied that some disaster could prevent me from getting the medication that I am desperate to move away from it.

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Faith Says:
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If your patch is emptying in 2 instead of 3 days tell ur Dr my boyfriend's Dr tested him which showed next to zero on 3 Rd day so he writes his for 48 hrs but insurance makes him pay cash for those extra 5 patches a month

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nanaof2 Says:
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Re: george (# 13)

How do you get a Dr.. ti believe that? I hurt so bad it rattles my nerves..


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David Says:
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Re: mayday (# 10)

I really do agree with you about those patches, but for real it seems that all of the medication is out of them after the first 24 hours, my patches sounds like a dried up leaf around the 36th hour. And they really don’t last for no 72 hours, and now I am being weaned off the patches, with the aid of other meds of course. 10mgs Methadone is helping with chills and hot spells as well with the achy feeling. And I still have my 10mg Percocet for breakthrough pain. Mind you I still have to have another surgery to my neck because the number 6 disc is putting too much pressure on the nerve that runs to my my left shoulder. The pain is so severe at times it awakens me from my sleep. So as soon as I have that surgery maybe a month or two I shall be done with painkillers of any kind.. I can’t wait..


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ROCKO Says:
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Y'all might not believe me but this is the truth. I fell 30 feet threw a skylight. To make a very very long story short my dr had me on a 150mcg fentanyl every 48 hours, of course I worked my way up that high. He kept me on them just so I could keep working as a bread vendor. Did it 4 over 20 yrs after my 30 foot drop. But it finally caught up to my artificial hips, knees, pins in ankles, fused 3 disc in back, & rt wrist fusion, but I just didn't want to go on disability. People say get an easier job but nobody would hire me cause I'm high risk. I own my bread route as an independent operator but I was getting so many stress fractures it was either I keep working or be in a wheelchair, n I got off those patches with my np. They put me on suboxone. Got off those when I found out how addicting they are n didn't touch my pain. Back on 50mcg patches but I have my 39th operation on may 23rd. I got lysis in my left leg bone eating my bones from the plastic cup they put in from the last operation. I have an infection and I get staph / mrsa but I can't get operated on until zero nicotine is left in my system.

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18
Joan Says:

Re: ROCKO (# 17)

Sounds like you've been through the wringer -- so sorry to hear about all the troubles. My complaints (age 87) seem negligible compared to yours. Hope things get better. Joan B.


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