Fentora is a narcotic pain medication used to treat “breakthrough” cancer pain. The active ingredient in Fentora is Fentanyl—which the FDA believes is 80 times more powerful than morphine. Fentora was approved by the FDA in 2006, but was first synthesized by Janssen Pharmaceuticals in the 1950s. 80,000 prescriptions were written for Fentora in its first year on the market.
In 2007, the FDA believed that doctors were not prescribing Fentora properly, and warned healthcare professionals of serious risks. This warning advised doctors about prescribing Fentora to patients who were opioid non-tolerant, improper dosing of the drug, and using the drug for pain other than in cancer patients (for example, less severe pain such as migraines or back pain). In cases such as these, serious side effects including death were reported. The drug was linked to four deaths due to these misuses.
Fentora is classified as a Schedule II substance in the same category as cocaine and methamphetamines.
Serious side effects may include:
- Weak or shallow breathing
- Pale skin, feeling light-headed or short of breath, rapid heart rate, trouble concentrating
- Feeling very thirsty or hot, being unable to urinate, heavy sweating, or hot and dry skin
Less serious side effects may include:
- Nausea, vomiting, constipation
- Dizziness, drowsiness
- Feeling weak or tired
- Swelling in your hands or feet
- Pain or mouth sores where the medicine was placed