Fentanyl Patch Use Guide Released

The document High Alert Medication Guideline — FentaNYL Transdermal Patch, developed by the California Hospital Association’s Medication Safety Committee, summarizes strategies to reduce preventable harm to patients in the hospital setting. These strategies address all stages of the medication process: (a) ordering/prescribing, (b) transcribing and verifying, © dispensing and delivering, (d) administering and (e) monitoring and reporting.If you would like to provide any feedback on the fentanyl guideline, please email

“Despite warnings from the FDA, manufacturers, and various patient safety agencies, fentanyl transdermal patches continue to be prescribed inappropriately to treat acute pain in opiate-naïve patients, sometimes in large doses or in combination with oral or intravenous opiates.” — ISMP (Institute for Safe Medication Practices)

Fentanyl patches are only for patients who are opioid-tolerant for the management of persistent, moderate to severe chronic pain that requires continuous, around the clock opioid administration for an extended period of time and cannot be managed by other means. The patches are not to be used to treat sudden, occasional or mild pain or pain after surgery.