Accidental Exposures to Fentanyl Patches Continue to Be Deadly to Children



Accidental publicity to medicine is a number one explanation for poisoning in youngsters. Young youngsters, specifically, have died or develop into critically unwell after being uncovered to a pores and skin patch containing fentanyl, a robust opioid ache reliever. If you watched {that a} youngster has been uncovered to a fentanyl patch, name 911 and search emergency medical assist instantly. 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration urges mother and father and caregivers to take precautions and guarantee that these patches are saved, used, and disposed of correctly. Below are some methods to cut back the chance of publicity and safely dispose of those patches, and what to do if a toddler is uncovered to a fentanyl patch.

Children Can Overdose on Fentanyl Patches

The fentanyl transdermal system, which is out there as a generic product and marketed underneath the model title Duragesic, is a patch prescribed by well being care suppliers to be utilized to the pores and skin. The patch treats opioid-tolerant sufferers who want every day, round the clock, long-term ache medication by releasing fentanyl by the pores and skin over the course of the therapy. The patch is usually changed each three days.

Children can overdose on new and used fentanyl patches by placing them of their mouth or sticking the patches on their pores and skin. This could cause dying by slowing the kid’s respiration and reducing the degrees of oxygen of their blood. 

The FDA has warned, and continues to warn, sufferers, caregivers, and well being care professionals in regards to the risks of unintentional publicity to the fentanyl patch, and the necessity to correctly retailer and get rid of the product.

In addition, the FDA recommends that sufferers and caregivers speak to their well being care suppliers about having naloxone available. Naloxone is a life-saving drug that, when sprayed into the nostril or injected, can shortly reverse the highly effective results of opioids, together with fentanyl, throughout an overdose. Naloxone may be given to youngsters and anybody who might have been uncovered to a fentanyl patch. 

Cut the Risk of Accidental Exposure

If you or somebody in your house makes use of the fentanyl patch, comply with the directions given by the prescriber and within the Medication Guide, which ought to accompany every fentanyl patch prescription.

To cut back the possibility that youngsters will probably be uncovered to fentanyl, take these precautions:

  • Keep fentanyl patches and different medicine in a safe location out of youngsters’s sight and attain. Toddlers and younger youngsters might imagine the patch is a sticker, tattoo, or bandage.
  • Consider protecting the fentanyl patch with a clear adhesive movie to be certain that the patch doesn’t come off your physique. You can apply first help tape to the sides of the patch to safe it to your pores and skin.
  • Throughout the day, be certain that the patch continues to be in place, by touching it or taking a look at it.
  • When you apply a brand new patch, promptly get rid of the used one correctly.

Infants and toddlers are particularly liable to unintentional publicity to fentanyl. When youngsters are held by or are sleeping with adults sporting a patch, it’s doable {that a} partially indifferent patch may very well be transferred from grownup to youngster.

How to Dispose of Fentanyl Patches

Even after a patch is used, there’s sufficient fentanyl left to trigger sickness, overdose, or dying in infants, youngsters, adults, and pets who’re by accident uncovered to the drugs within the patch. That’s why the drug comes with particular directions on how to get rid of used or leftover patches.

The FDA recommends promptly disposing of used patches by folding them in half with the sticky sides collectively, after which flushing them down a bathroom. They shouldn’t be positioned within the family trash, the place youngsters or pets can discover them. Children might discover misplaced, discarded, or improperly saved patches and ingest them or stick them on themselves or others.

The FDA has included fentanyl patches on a listing of medicines that ought to be flushed down a bathroom as a result of they may very well be particularly dangerous, and presumably deadly, in a single dose if utilized by somebody aside from the particular person for whom the drugs was prescribed. 

What to Do if a Child Is Exposed to Fentanyl

If you watched {that a} youngster has been uncovered to a fentanyl patch, use naloxone in case you have it, name 911 and search emergency medical assist instantly. 

Early indicators of fentanyl publicity may be laborious to discover in younger youngsters. Drowsiness has been among the many reported signs, and that may very well be misinterpreted because the youngster simply being drained or sleepy.

Other indicators that the kid might have been uncovered to fentanyl embrace:

  • hassle respiration
  • shortness of breath
  • swelling of the face, tongue, or throat
  • agitation
  • excessive physique temperature
  • stiff muscle groups

Because overdoses can occur wherever, naloxone is designed to be utilized by anybody, even a bystander. You can provide naloxone to individuals of all ages, from infants to aged adults. Even in the event you use naloxone, you continue to want to name 911 and search emergency medical assist immediately.

Talk to your well being care skilled about the advantages of naloxone and the way to receive it. In most states and the District of Columbia, you’ll be able to receive naloxone from a pharmacy underneath a standing order (a prewritten medicine order) that takes the place of a person prescription.

Have Naloxone and Learn How to Use It

Fentanyl, like all opioids, ought to be saved securely. If you might have naloxone, inform your loved ones about it, and maintain naloxone in a spot the place household, pals, and shut contacts can simply get it in an emergency. If you might have naloxone, advise household and pals on how to administer it within the occasion of an unintentional publicity or overdose. 

If you might have a query in regards to the fentanyl patch, speak to your well being care supplier or pharmacist. Also, the FDA’s Division of Drug Information (DDI) will reply virtually any drug query. DDI pharmacists can be found by e-mail, druginfo@fda.hhs.gov, and by telephone, 1-855-543-DRUG (3784) and 301-796-3400.

Health care professionals and sufferers are inspired to report circumstances of unintentional publicity to the FDA’s MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program:

  • Complete and submit the report on-line.
  • Download the shape or name 1-800-332-1088 to request a reporting type, then full and return to the handle on the shape, or submit by fax to 1-800-FDA-0178.



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