ACTIQ- fentanyl citrate lozenge
Cephalon, Incorporated



Fatal respiratory depression has occurred in patients treated with ACTIQ, including following use in opioid non-tolerant patients and improper dosing.The substitution of ACTIQ for any other fentanyl product may result in fatal overdose.

Due to the risk of respiratory depression, ACTIQ is contraindicated in the management of acute or postoperative pain including headache/migraine and in opioid non-tolerant patients. [see Contraindications (4)]

Death has been reported in children who have accidentally ingested ACTIQ. ACTIQ must be kept out of reach of children. [see Patient Counseling Information (17.3) and How Supplied/Storage and Handling (16.1)]

The concomitant use of ACTIQ with CYP3A4 inhibitors may result in an increase in fentanyl plasma concentrations, and may cause potentially fatal respiratory depression [see Drug Interactions (7)].


Substantial differences exist in the pharmacokinetic profile of ACTIQ compared to other fentanyl products that result in clinically important differences in the extent of absorption of fentanyl that could result in fatal overdose.

- When prescribing, do not convert patients on a mcg per mcg basis from any other fentanyl products to ACTIQ. [see Dosage and Administration (2.1)]

- When dispensing, do not substitute an ACTIQ prescription for other fentanyl products.


ACTIQ contains fentanyl, an opioid agonist and a Schedule II controlled substance, with an abuse liability similar to other opioid analgesics.

ACTIQ can be abused in a manner similar to other opioid agonists, legal or illicit. This should be considered when prescribing or dispensing ACTIQ in situations where the physician or pharmacist is concerned about an increased risk of misuse, abuse or diversion.

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). Under the Transmucosal Immediate Release Fentanyl (TIRF) REMS Access program, outpatients, healthcare professionals who prescribe to outpatients, pharmacies, and distributors must enroll in the program. [see Warnings and Precautions (5.10)] Further information is available at or by calling 1-866-822-1483.


ACTIQ (oral transmucosal fentanyl citrate) is indicated for the management of breakthrough pain in cancer patients 16 years of age and older who are already receiving and who are tolerant to around-the-clock opioid therapy for their underlying persistent cancer pain. Patients considered opioid tolerant are those who are taking around-the-clock medicine consisting of at least 60 mg of oral morphine daily, at least 25 mcg of transdermal fentanyl/hour, at least 30 mg of oral oxycodone daily, at least 8 mg of oral hydromorphone daily, at least 25 mg oral oxymorphone daily, or an equianalgesic dose of another opioid daily for a week or longer. Patients must remain on around-the-clock opioids when taking ACTIQ.

This product must not be used in opioid non-tolerant patients because life-threatening respiratory depression and death could occur at any dose in patients not on a chronic regimen of opioids. For this reason, ACTIQ is contraindicated in the management of acute or postoperative pain.

ACTIQ is intended to be used only in the care of opioid-tolerant cancer patients and only by oncologists and pain specialists who are knowledgeable of and skilled in the use of Schedule II opioids to treat cancer pain.

Limitations of Use:

As a part of the TIRF REMS Access program, ACTIQ may be dispensed only to outpatients enrolled in the program [see Warnings and Precautions (5.10)]. For inpatient administration of ACTIQ (e.g., hospitals, hospices, and long-term care facilities that prescribe for inpatient use), patient and prescriber enrollment is not required.


Healthcare professionals who prescribe ACTIQ on an outpatient basis must enroll in the TIRF REMS Access program and comply with the requirements of the REMS to ensure safe use of ACTIQ [see Warnings and Precautions (5.10)].

As with all opioids, the safety of patients using such products is dependent on health care professionals prescribing them in strict conformity with their approved labeling with respect to patient selection, dosing, and proper conditions for use.

2.1 Initial Dose

Individually titrate ACTIQ to a dose that provides adequate analgesia and minimizes side effects. The initial dose of ACTIQ to treat episodes of breakthrough cancer pain is always 200 mcg. The ACTIQ unit should be consumed over 15 minutes. Patients should be prescribed an initial titration supply of six 200 mcg ACTIQ units, thus limiting the number of units in the home during titration. Patients should use up all units before increasing to a higher dose to prevent confusion and possible overdose.

2.2 Dose Titration

From this initial dose, closely follow patients and change the dosage level until the patient reaches a dose that provides adequate analgesia using a single ACTIQ dosage unit per breakthrough cancer pain episode. If signs of excessive opioid effects appear before the unit is consumed, the dosage unit should be removed from the patient’s mouth immediately, disposed of properly, and subsequent doses should be decreased. Patients should record their use of ACTIQ over several episodes of breakthrough cancer pain and review their experience with their physicians to determine if a dosage adjustment is warranted.

In cases where the breakthrough pain episode is not relieved 15 minutes after completion of the ACTIQ unit (30 minutes after the start of the unit), patients may take ONLY ONE additional dose of the same strength for that episode. Thus, patients should take a maximum of two doses of ACTIQ for any breakthrough pain episode.

Patients must wait at least 4 hours before treating another episode of breakthrough pain with ACTIQ. To reduce the risk of overdosing during titration, patients should have only one strength of ACTIQ available at any one time.

ACTIQ Titration Process See Boxed Warning

ACTIQ Titration Process
(click image for full-size original)

*Available dosage strengths include: 200, 400, 600, 800, 1200, and 1600 mcg.

2.3 Maintenance Dosing

Once titrated to an effective dose, patients should generally use ONLY ONE ACTIQ unit of the appropriate strength per breakthrough pain episode.

On those occasions when the breakthrough pain episode is not relieved 15 minutes after completion of the ACTIQ unit, patient may take ONLY ONE additional dose using the same strength for that episode.

Patients MUST wait at least 4 hours before treating another episode of breakthrough pain with ACTIQ. Once a successful dose has been found (i.e., an average episode is treated with a single unit), patients should limit consumption to four or fewer units per day.

Dosage adjustment of ACTIQ may be required in some patients in order to continue to provide adequate relief of breakthrough pain.

Generally, the ACTIQ dose should be increased only when a single administration of the current dose fails to adequately treat the breakthrough pain episode for several consecutive episodes.

If the patient experiences greater than four breakthrough pain episodes per day, the dose of the maintenance (around-the-clock) opioid used for persistent pain should be re-evaluated.

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