Drugs Home > What Are Fentanyl Sublingual Tablets Used For?

Fentanyl sublingual tablets are prescribed for the treatment of sudden bursts of pain that "break through" regular pain medication used for cancer treatment. This medication should not be used to treat any type of short-term pain and should only be used in people who are used to the effects of opioid medications. Only adults age 18 and older are approved to use fentanyl sublingual tablets.

In Introduction to Uses of Fentanyl Sublingual Tablets

Fentanyl sublingual tablets (Abstral®) are a strong prescription opioid pain medication used to manage breakthrough pain in people with cancer who are already taking regularly scheduled pain treatment for their persistent cancer pain. Breakthrough pain is intense pain that occurs suddenly, even though other pain medication is being taken on a regular basis.
This pain medication comes as a small, sublingual tablet. It is placed on the floor of the mouth, under the tongue, where it is allowed to dissolve.
Fentanyl sublingual tablets are only approved for use in people who have been taking other opioid pain medications and are tolerant to their effects. In general, people are considered opioid tolerant if they have been taking at least 60 mg of morphine, 30 mg of oxycodone, 8 mg of hydromorphone, 25 mcg of fentanyl patch (Duragesic®), or an equivalent dose of another opioid every day for at least a week.
This medication should not be used to treat short-term pain (sometimes called acute pain), including pain after surgery or other medical or dental procedures, or headache or migraine pain.
Fentanyl sublingual tablets are a Schedule II controlled substance because they have a very high potential for abuse. Schedule II medications are considered to have the highest abuse potential of all prescription medicines. There are strict laws and regulations for prescribing and obtaining such drugs.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
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