Duragesic Side Effects

  • Generic Name or Active Ingridient: Fentanyl

Duragesic is a brand name skin patch containing the opioid pain reliever, fentanyl. Side effects may be related to the active ingredient or in the transdermal delivery system of the skin patch.

This drug, like all medications, may cause side effects. Many people experience no, or minor, side effects from this drug. Most side effects are not serious and subside after a few days. A few side effects are serious, requiring the attention of a doctor.

Abuse, Dependence and Addiction

Potential for abuse, physical dependence or addiction are possible side effects from taking Duragesic. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, or DEA, classifies substances according to the potential for abuse. The DEA has categorized Duragesic as a Schedule II narcotic, which means it carries a high potential for abuse that may lead to mental or physical dependence.

Physical dependence to Duragesic means the individual will suffer withdrawal symptoms after the level of opioid drops in his system, because either he has stopped taking Duragesic or he has taken a medication to reduce the amount of Duragesic in his system rapidly. Withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Abdominal Cramps
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Blurred Vision
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Sweating
  • Tremor
  • Vomiting

General Side Effects

Duragesic's side effects are typical of any opioids. These side effects usually subside in intensity or stop altogether with continued use at proper doses. The most serious side effect associated with Duragesic is respiratory problems potentially leading to stopped breathing, circulatory depression, dangerously low blood pressure and shock. While side effects are not always likely, physicians should anticipate side effects and treat patients accordingly.

The most common side effects associated with this medication are not serious and disappear after taking this drug for a few days. Continue taking this medication but contact the prescribing physician if the following side effects become intolerable or if they do not go away on their own:

  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Rash
  • Sleepiness
  • Trouble Sleeping
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness

Some side effects are serious, requiring immediate medical attention. Stop taking this medication immediately and contact a doctor if you experience serious side effects, including:

  • Severe Allergic Reactions
  • Blurred Vision or Other Vision Problems
  • Chest Pain
  • Confusion
  • Fainting
  • Fast, Slow or Irregular Heartbeat
  • Hallucinations
  • Mood or Mental Changes Such As Depression)
  • Mouth Sores, Ulcers, Bleeding, or Inflammation
  • Seizure
  • Severe Drowsiness
  • Severe Dry Eyes, Mouth or Skin
  • Severe or Persistent Dizziness or Headache;
  • Severe or Persistent Stomach Pain
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Slow or Shallow Breathing
  • Trouble Urinating
  • Unusual or Severe Weakness or Tiredness


Cardiovascular side effects associated with Duragesic include very low blood pressure, slow heartbeat or irregular heartbeat. While some scientific reports suggest Duragesic masks or worsen some heart problems, pharmacologists consider Duragesic safe for coronary artery surgery.


Gastrointestinal side effects include nausea, vomiting and constipation.


Respiratory depression is a frequent and serious side effect associated with Duragesic. Respiratory depression is a condition where the lungs do not adequately exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide, characterized by slow or shallow breathing. Coughing may be associated with Duragesic.


Urinary retention or bladder pain is associated with Duragesic use. Consumers have reported decreased libido and ejaculatory difficulties while using a Duragesic patch.


Itching is a common dermatologic side effect associated with Duragesic use. An individual may suffer rashes in the areas where he had applied Duragesic patches. Rarely, patients have reported rashes covering a large portion of their bodies or rashes in areas not near a Duragesic patch.


Duragesic rarely causes anaphylaxis, a severe and life threatening whole-body allergic reaction. Symptoms develop quickly, within minutes or seconds of exposure to Duragesic. Symptoms of anaphylaxis include abdominal pain, hives, abnormal breathing, confusion, vomiting or diarrhea. Seek professional help immediately if you suspect anaphylaxis.


Duragesic may cause a small amount of hemolysis, a breakdown of red blood cells. Researchers are not yet certain of the significance of the hemolysis associated with Duragesic.


Individuals have reported metabolic side effects associated with Duragesic, including weight loss.

Special Senses

Duragesic may cause blurred vision.