Actiq Side Effects

Actiq (fentanyl citrate) is an opioid pain medication. An opioid is sometimes called a narcotic.

Actiq treats “breakthrough” cancer pain that is not controlled by other medicines. This medication is not for treating pain that is not cancer-related, such as migraine headaches or pain after surgery.

Actiq is available only under a special program called Actiq REMS Program. You must be registered in the program and sign documents stating that you understand the risks and benefits of taking this medication.

You should not use Actiq unless you are already being treated with a similar opioid pain medicine and your body is tolerant to it. Opioid medicines include codeine (Tylenol #3), hydrocodone (Lortab, Vicodin, Vicoprofen), hydromorphone (Dilaudid, Exalgo), oxycodone (OxyContin, Combunox, Roxicodone, Percocet), methadone (Methadose, Dolophine), morphine (Kadian, MS Contin, Oramorph), oxymorphone (Opana), and others. Talk with your doctor if you are not sure you are opioid-tolerant.

Do not use Actiq if you have used an MAO inhibitor such as furazolidone (Furoxone), isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), rasagiline (Azilect), selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam, Zelapar), or tranylcypromine (Parnate) in the last 14 days. A dangerous drug interaction could occur, leading to serious side effects.

You should not use Actiq if you have had an allergic reaction or severe side effects when using any narcotic pain medicine.

To make sure you can safely use Actiq, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:

  • a breathing disorder such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD);
  • a seizure disorder;
  • a history of head injury or brain tumor;
  • liver or kidney disease;
  • low blood pressure, heart disease;
  • a history of depression, mental illness, or drug or alcohol addiction.

Actiq may be habit forming and should be used only by the person for whom it was prescribed. Never share this medicine with another person, especially someone with a history of drug abuse or addiction. Keep the medication in a place where others cannot get to it.

FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether Actiq is harmful to an unborn baby. It could cause addiction or withdrawal symptoms in a newborn if the mother uses Actiq during pregnancy. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment. Fentanyl citrate can pass into breast milk and may cause sleepiness or breathing problems in a nursing baby. Actiq may also cause addiction and withdrawal symptoms in a nursing infant. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction to Actiq: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. Stop using Actiq and call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:

  • weak or shallow breathing, slow heart rate;
  • extreme sleepiness; or
  • feeling like you might pass out.

Less serious Actiq side effects may include:

  • dry mouth;
  • headache, dizziness, weakness, anxiety; or
  • nausea, vomiting, or constipation.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.