For people who have chronic and intense pain, doctors may prescribe a Fentanyl patch that delivers the strong pain medication by absorption through the skin and into the blood stream. Fentanyl is approximately 75 times more potent than morphine and can lead to addiction. While the absorption rate is constant, placement of the patch can be a factor in how fast the drug is released into the bloodstream.
Fentanyl as a Drug
The Fentanyl patch is only to be used for chronic and intense pain and should not be used for minor aches and pains. The Food and Drug Administration has sent out advisories detailing doctors wrongly prescribing this drug and it causing death and serious injury. It also carries the possibility of addiction.
The patch comes in a sealed bag that should not be opened before placement onto the skin. The bag and patch should never come into contact with direct heat such as an electric blanket, stove, furnace etc. as it may increase the input of the drug into the system. Also, the patch should not come into contact with alcohol used for sterilization, as it may increase the effects of the drug.
The patch works by slowly delivering the drug through the skin and fat cells directly into the bloodstream. Its path through the fat cells is the major factor in how fast the drug enters the system. The patch is generally placed on the chest or back, but the best place for placement would be where there is little fat to obstruct the drug. The least fatty place on the chest and back of a person varies by body type and weight, but it is usually on the upper back.
Hair is another factor that may impede the drug's journey into the blood stream. Hair should be clipped prior to patch placement. Also, temperature and humidity may be a factor in hastening or impeding the drug's delivery into the blood stream.