Actiq is a narcotic pain medicine available in generic form. This opioid medication is a Schedule II controlled substance. It’s a form of oral transmucosal fentanyl citrate (OTFC). Other pharmaceutical preparations containing fentanyl are Durogesic and Duragesic andFentora. Fentanyl is absorbed as nicotine when dipping tobacco and it’s placed in the mouth between the gum and cheek. Oral Transmucosal Fentanyl Citrate (Actiq) has been used to treat cancer pain that may not be treated by other medicines.


Actiq is much stronger than morphine. This prescribed drug was designed for opiate-tolerant individuals and is very useful in treating cancer patients. Nevertheless, this medication is frequently prescribed for other conditions such as bone migraines, cluster headaches, arthritis, severe back pain injuries, neuropathy, and other conditions of mild to severe chronic, benign pain.

The primary dose of ACTIQ to cancer patients is generally 200 mcg. The unit should be taken over 15 minutes. Patients are prescribed an initial quantity of six 200 mcg units, hence regulating the number of units throughout titration. Individuals receiving this type of treatment should consume all units before taking higher doses in order to prevent misunderstanding and an overdose.

Patients who are treated with a similar opioid pain medication and build tolerance should not use Actiq. Also, individuals who use certain antibiotics, heart or blood pressure medicine, antifungal medications, or prescribed drugs used to treat AIDS or HIV should avoid Actiq. Patients should tell their doctors about all medications they are using. Those who switch from Actiq to another fentanyl medications should also consult their doctors as dosage might not be the same.

Some things to consider before taking Actiq:

  • The presence of any breathing problems and lung disease
  • A history of mental disorders, head injury, and brain tumors
  • A history addiction or chemical dependency to drugs or alcohol
  • A seizure or medical condition
  • Kidney or liver failure
  • Unstable blood pressure, heart problems, and irregular heartbeats


Some of the side effects associated with the use of this drug may not require immediate medical care. As the body adapts to this medication throughout treatment the side effects will eventually reside. Health care professionals can also help patients find ways to lessen or prevent a number of of these side effects. If they persist or become unbearable or the patients have any questions about it, they should consult a health care professional

Some of the most common side effects of ACTIQ may include:

  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Extreme sleepiness
  • Asthenia
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Rash
  • Insomnia
  • Slow heart rate
  • Shallow breathing
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Headache

Some patients treated with ACTIQ have had fatal-respiratory-depression. Considerable clinical differences exist between ACTIQ and other fentanyl products. The substitution of ACTIQ for any other fentanyl product can lead to fatal overdose in patients intolerant to opioids and patients whose doses haven’t been administered properly. Because of the risk of respiratory depression, ACTIQ is contraindicated in the treatment of acute pain such as headache/migraine in opioid non-tolerant individuals. Children who unintentionally ingest this drug could die. Therefore, it is extremely important to keep it out of the reach of children.

It is not known whether Actiq is harmful to a fetus. This medication could cause addiction or withdrawal symptoms in a newborn if the mother uses it during pregnancy. This medication 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. Patients must check with heir physician first before breast-feeding. Also, they should not stop using this drug suddenly in order to prevent withdrawal.

Abuse and addiction

Because of the risk for misuse, abuse, addiction, and overdose, ACTIQ is available only through a restricted program required by the Food and Drug Administration, called a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS). Outpatients and healthcare professionals who prescribe these drugs must be enrolled in the REMS Access program.

This prescribed medication is not intended for pain that is not cancer-related. It should never be shared with another person, especially individuals with history of chemical dependency. Patients are advised to keep these medications in a safe place where others cannot reach it.

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