Fentanyl Patches Should Be Stored and Disposed of Properly to Avoid Accidental Poisonings in Children

NABP e-News

Fentanyl patches should be securely stored out of the sight and reach of children and disposed of properly, advises Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Unused and used fentanyl patches, if accidentally or inappropriately used, can be fatal in just a single dose, warns the agency. From 1997 to 2012, there have been 26 reported cases of accidental fentanyl patch poisonings in young children, with 10 fatalities. These poisonings have occurred in homes and in health care settings. In addition to storing unused patches out of children’s reach, patients and caregivers should follow FDA guidelines for proper disposal of used patches, since these still contain enough medication to harm or cause death in a child. After a used patch is removed from the skin, it should be folded, sticky sides together, and flushed down a toilet. Flushing is necessary to avoid accidental use by children and others and also to prevent family pets from accidental exposure to the medication. FDA provides more information about safe use and disposal of fentanyl patches in a consumer update, as well as a list ofmedications that should be disposed of by flushing after use or when no longer needed. FDA provides additional information for health care providers on the “Fentanyl Transdermal System (marketed as Duragesic) Information” page. Consumer information about safe drug disposal methods is also available on the AWARXE Web site.


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