Actiq is a very powerful pain reliever, about 80 times more powerful than morphine, and is reserved for only the most acute pain uncontrolled by other medication. Actiq is usually prescribed to treat breakthrough cancer pain, which is pain that "breaks through" the use of around-the-clock analgesics. Physicians sometimes prescribe Actiq for off-label uses, such as chronic and acute back pain. Actiq is not appropriate for all patients; discuss Actiq with your doctor to find out of this narcotic can safely relieve your pain.

Actiq is a solid form of fentanyl citrate on a plastic stick, or what could be considered an opioid lollipop. Actiq dissolves slowly in the mouth, absorbed across the oral mucosal membrane. Other methods of delivering Actiq include a slow-release patch and a rapidly-dissolving lozenge. The white, berry-flavored lozenge is wiped between the cheek and gum to release the active ingredient quickly into the bloodstream. About 25 percent of the drug is absorbed through membranes in your mouth and released directly into your bloodstream; the remaining 75 percent is absorbed through the digestive tract and then metabolized by the liver. Actiq can also be administered through transdermal patches and by injection.

Actiq Uses

Opioids are chemicals that bind to the opioid receptors in the nervous system. Opioids like Actiq have two primary effects- pain relief and pleasure but Actiq is approved for medical use only for its pain relieving attribute. Actiq is very effective for reducing breakthrough pain in cancer patients who have developed resistance to other methods of pain control. Actiq is sometimes prescribed "off-label" to treat pain from medical conditions other than cancer, such as for back pain or injuries. Read More About Actiq Uses

Actiq Precautions

A few precautions are necessary before taking Actiq. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to fentanyl or any other medication. Give your doctor or pharmacist a list of all the medications you currently take or are planning to take while on Actiq. Be sure to mention herbal products, especially St. John's wort. Tell your doctor if you or if any member of your family drinks large amounts of alcohol or used street drugs. Inform your physician about any head injuries, strokes or other illnesses that causes increase cranial pressure. Be sure your doctor knows about any seizures, cardiovascular problems, respiratory, liver and kidney disease or mental problems. Tell your surgeon or dentist about your Actiq use before any medical or dental surgery.

Actiq can be fatal to a child. Use an Actiq Child Safety Kit, which contains educational materials and storage container, to keep Actiq away from children. Keep track of how many Actiq units are on hand at all times. Dispose of completely and partially used Actiq unites in a child-resistant container. Read More About Actiq Precautions

Actiq side effects include:

  • Drowsiness.
  • Slow or Shallow Breathing.
  • Physical Dependence.

Read More About Side Effects

Actiq Abuse

Actiq produces a euphoric effect which makes it attractive for use as a recreational drug. Because of this pleasant feeling, Actiq has the high potential for abuse leading to long-term physical and mental dependency. The United States government classifies Actiq as a Schedule II controlled substance because of this potential for abuse. When taken as prescribed for acute pain, there is little chance for dependency; however, when Actiq is taken in excessive doses or for recreational use, dependency can result. Read More About Abuse

Symptoms from Actiq withdrawal include:

  • Anxiety.
  • Sweating.
  • Malaise.
  • Depression.
  • Muscle cramps.
  • Aches in the bones and muscles.
  • Leg kicking.
  • Goosebumps.
  • Yawning.
  • Severe and chronic insomnia.

Other effects of withdrawal are:

  • Nausea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Cramps.
  • Fever.

Read More about Actiq Withdrawal Symptoms

Some people complain of "itchy blood," resulting in compulsive scratching that causes bruises, scratches and sores. Quitting Actiq cold turkey is a painful and often unbearable process. Read More about Actiq Withdrawal Symptoms


If you should become pregnant while taking Actiq, contact your doctor to discuss the risks and benefits of taking Actiq. Do not breastfeed while taking Actiq as Fentanyl Lozenge is found in breast milk. Do not take more than the recommended dose, take Actiq more frequently than prescribed or suddenly stop taking Actiq unless directed to do so by a physician. Stopping Actiq after long-term use may result in withdrawal symptoms.

Read More About Actiq Warnings

Rapid Detox

Rapid Detoxification is the first choice in treatment for dependence on Actiq. Rapid detox includes deep sedation after an extensive and exhaustive physical examination and diagnostic laboratory workup to determine the patient's exact neurotransmitter and hormonal imbalances that lead to the addiction. During this pre-treatment period, the patient's condition is stabilized while specialists create a treatment plan based on the patient's specific needs. During rapid detox treatments, special drugs cleanse opiates from the patient's opiate receptors while highly trained professionals monitor the patient's condition during the medically-induced withdrawal procedure. A rapid detoxification accelerates the withdrawal process to impart treatment within hours rather than days. When the patient wakes up, she is no longer dependent on Actiq nor does she recall experiencing the symptoms of withdrawal. Patients are monitored by staff after the procedure to stabilize their physical and mental conditions. Read More About Rapid Detox

Treatment Options

Suboxone is a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine is an opioid like Actiq, but does not produce the euphoric feeling associated with other opioids, making it easier to stop taking. Naloxone blocks the effects of opioids like Actiq and leads to withdrawal symptoms in a person addicted to opioids; because of this action, Suboxone is an effective treatment for opiate addiction. When taken under the tongue as directed, naloxone does not disrupt the pain relieving effect of buprenorphine. Find More Treatment Options


Store Actiq tightly closed in its original blister package in a safe place where no one, especially children, can take them accidently or on purpose. Use child-resistant locks on storage containers. Store Actiq lozenges at room temperature. Dispose of any unneeded lozenges by flushing the medicine end of the lozenge down the toilet. Learn More About Storing Actiq

Drug Interactions

Certain medications interact with Actiq. Do not take Actiq with aprepitant, diltiazem, verapamil, antibiotics such as clarithromycin or erythromycin, antifungal medications such as fluconazole, ketoconazole, itraconazole or HIV medicines such as indinavir, fosamprenavir, nelfinavir or ritonavir.

Avoid drinking alcohol and consuming grapefruit products while taking Actiq. Both may interact with fentanyl and lead to potentially serious side effects. Talk with your doctor before increasing or decreasing the amount of grapefruit in your diet. Actiq should not be taken with cold or allergy medicine, sleeping pills, muscle relaxers and medicine for seizures, depression or anxiety as these drugs can add to sleepiness caused by Actiq. Read More About Drug Interactions


One Actiq lozenge is a dose. Do not take more than four Actiq lozenges, or units, per day. Your doctor will probably start you on a low dose of 200 mcg. Patients in acute pain may require dosages up to 1600 mcg. Each dose has its own plastic handle and box color for easy identification. More Dosage Information


Seek immediate medical treatment if you suspect you or someone else has overdosed on Actiq. The amount of fentanyl in one Actiq unit is fatal to a child. Symptoms of overdose include:

  • Weak Pulse
  • Fainting
  • Shallow Breathing
  • Breathing That Stops

Learn More About Actiq Overdose