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What should I know about Fentora before taking it?

Before you take Fentora (fentanyl), a drug prescribed for treating breakthrough cancer pain, you should know that it comes with what's called a black box warning -- a type of special alert that appears on the package insert of drugs that have serious hazards. In the case of Fentora, this warning lets you know the drug can cause a fatal slowdown of breathing, especially if you take too much or combine it with certain other medicines.

It's also important to know that you should not take Fentora, a type of narcotic similar to morphine, unless you're already on a round-the-clock opioid drug for pain. If your body hasn't already built up a tolerance for these sorts of drugs, Fentora could be deadly.

Fentora is considered a "controlled substance," with potential for abuse as a street drug. So this medication should not be taken by anyone with a history of drug addiction. Fentora is also potentially fatal to children. Even a fragment of a tablet can cause serious harm or even death, so it's extremely important to ensure your Fentora pills are in a safe, secure place out of a child's reach.

Because of the drug's dangers and its abuse potential, Fentora is available only through a restricted program required by the Food and Drug Administration, called a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS). Under this program, healthcare professionals who prescribe or dispense Fentora receive detailed instructions on how to educate patients in its safe use and how to monitor for any adverse effects.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.