UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Toxicology

Title: Fentanyl Patch Abuse

Keywords: fentanyl (PubMed Search)

Posted: 9/16/2010 by Fermin Barrueto, MD (Updated: 9/18/2010)
Click here to contact Fermin Barrueto, MD

A fentanyl patch contains 100-fold more fentanyl in the reservoir than what is posted on the patch. For instance, 100mcg/hr patch will have over 10mg - thats milligrams - of fentanyl. This provides a rather large source for potential abuse. Overdose and deaths have occurred by patients in the following ways:

  1. Ingesting
  2. Placing in a cigarette and inhaling
  3. Inadvertent overdose by sleeping with an electric heating blanket and increasing absorption through the skin
  4. Steeping the patch in hot water
  5. Actually stealing the patches off of dead bodies in the morgue


It is the many