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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Safety

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Fentora (fentanyl buccal tablet)

Audience: Pain management specialists, other healthcare professionals

[UPDATED 09/26/2007] FDA issued a Public Health Advisory and a Healthcare Professional Sheet to alert healthcare professionals and consumers regarding concerns over the use of Fentora (fentanyl buccal) tablets after recent reports of deaths and other adverse events. The deaths reported were the result of improper selection of patients, dosing, or improper product substitution.

FDA warned physicians and other healthcare professionals that it is critical to follow product labeling when administering Fentora. FDA further stated that it is dangerous to use Fentora for any short-term pain such as headaches or migraines. It is critical that Fentora not be used in patients who are not opioid tolerant.

Patients also must be under a doctor’s care and close supervision while taking Fentora and the dose should be carefully adjusted to control breakthrough pain adequately.

In addition, FDA is concerned about the improper substitution of Fentora, a quick acting pain drug, for other pain medicines. Fentora is not the same as other fentanyl products and cannot be substituted for Actiq, another fentanyl product used to treat breakthrough cancer pain. Because Fentora delivers more fentanyl to the blood than Actiq, substituting Fentora for Actiq using the same dose can result in a fatal overdose.

[Posted 09/13/2007] Cephalon issued two Dear Healthcare Professional Letters to inform prescribers and other healthcare providers of important safety information regarding Fentora. Fentora is indicated only for the management of breakthrough pain in patients with cancer who are already receiving and who are tolerant to opioid therapy for their underlying persistent cancer pain. Serious adverse events, including deaths, have occurred in patients treated with Fentora. These deaths occurred as a result of improper patient selection (e.g., use in opioid non-tolerant patients), improper dosing, and/or improper product substitution. The healthcare professional letters provide key points regarding appropriate patient selection and proper dosing and administration of Fentora to reduce the risk of respiratory depression.

[September 26, 2007 - Public Health Advisory - FDA]
[September 26, 2007 - Healthcare Information Sheet - FDA]
[September 10, 2007 - Dear Doctor Letter - Cephalon]
[September 10, 2007 - Dear Healthcare Professional Letter - Cephalon]
[March 2007 - Label with Medication Guide - Cephalon]