Profound sedation, respiratory depression, coma, and death may result from the concomitant use of FENTORA with benzodiazepines or other CNS depressants (e.g., non-benzodiazepine sedatives/hypnotics, anxiolytics, tranquilizers, muscle relaxants, general anesthetics, antipsychotics, other opioids, alcohol). Because of these risks, reserve concomitant prescribing of these drugs for use in patients for whom alternative treatment options are inadequate.
Observational studies have demonstrated that concomitant use of opioid analgesics and benzodiazepines increases the risk of drug-related mortality compared to use of opioid analgesics alone. Because of similar pharmacological properties, it is reasonable to expect similar risk with the concomitant use of other CNS depressant drugs with opioid analgesics [see Drug Interactions (7)].
If the decision is made to prescribe a benzodiazepine or other CNS depressant concomitantly with an opioid analgesic, prescribe the lowest effective dosages and minimum durations of concomitant use. In patients already receiving an opioid analgesic, prescribe a lower initial dose of the benzodiazepine or other CNS depressant than indicated in the absence of an opioid, and titrate based on clinical response. If an opioid analgesic is initiated in a patient already taking a benzodiazepine or other CNS depressant, prescribe a lower initial dose of the opioid analgesic, and titrate based on clinical response. Follow patients closely for signs and symptoms of respiratory depression and sedation.
Advise both patients and caregivers about the risks of respiratory depression and sedation when FENTORA is used with benzodiazepines or other CNS depressants (including alcohol and illicit drugs). Advise patients not to drive or operate heavy machinery until the effects of concomitant use of the benzodiazepine or other CNS depressant have been determined. Screen patients for risk of substance use disorders, including opioid abuse and misuse, and warn them of the risk for overdose and death associated with the use of additional CNS depressants including alcohol and illicit drugs [see Drug Interactions (7) and Patient Counseling Information (17)].
When prescribing, do not convert a patient to FENTORA from any other fentanyl product on a mcg per mcg basis as FENTORA and other fentanyl products are not equivalent on a microgram per microgram basis.
FENTORA is not a generic version of other transmucosal immediate release fentanyl (TIRF) formulations. When dispensing, do not substitute a FENTORA prescription for any other TIRF formulation under any circumstances. Other TIRF formulations and FENTORA are not equivalent. Substantial differences exist in the pharmacokinetic profile of FENTORA compared to other fentanyl products including other TIRF formulations that result in clinically important differences in the rate and extent of absorption of fentanyl. As a result of these differences, the substitution of FENTORA or any other fentanyl product may result in a fatal overdose.
There are no safe conversion directions available for patients on any other fentanyl products except ACTIQ (Note: This includes oral, transdermal, or parenteral formulations of fentanyl.) [see Dosage and Administration (2.1)].Therefore, for opioid tolerant patients, the initial dose of FENTORA should always be 100 mcg. Individually titrate each patient’s dose to provide adequate analgesia while minimizing side effects [see Dosage and Administration (2.4)].
FENTORA contains fentanyl, a Schedule II controlled substance. As an opioid, FENTORA exposes users to the risks of addiction, abuse, and misuse [see Drug Abuse and Dependence (9)].
Although the risk of addiction in any individual is unknown, it can occur in patients appropriately prescribed FENTORA. Addiction can occur at recommended dosages and if the drug is misused or abused.
Assess each patient’s risk for opioid addiction, abuse, or misuse prior to prescribing FENTORA, and monitor all patients receiving FENTORA for the development of these behaviors or conditions. Risks are increased in patients with a personal or family history of substance abuse (including drug or alcohol abuse or addiction) or mental illness (e.g., major depression). The potential for these risks should not, however, prevent the proper management of pain in any given patient. Patients at increased risk may be prescribed opioids such as FENTORA, but use in such patients necessitates intensive counseling about the risks and proper use of FENTORA along with intensive monitoring for signs of addiction, abuse, and misuse. Consider prescribing naloxone for the emergency treatment of opioid overdose [see Dosage and Administration (2.2), Warnings and Precautions (5.1)].
Opioids are sought by drug abusers and people with addiction disorders and are subject to criminal diversion. Consider these risks when prescribing or dispensing FENTORA. Strategies to reduce these risks include prescribing the drug in the smallest appropriate quantity and advising the patient on the proper disposal of unused drug [see Patient Counseling Information (17)]. Contact local state professional licensing board or state controlled substances authority for information on how to prevent and detect abuse or diversion of this product.
Because of the risk for accidental exposure, misuse, abuse, addiction, and overdose [see Drug Abuse and Dependence (9)] , FENTORA is available only through a restricted program called the TIRF REMS. Under the TIRF REMS, healthcare professionals who prescribe to outpatients, the outpatients themselves, and pharmacies are required to enroll in the program.
Notable requirements of the TIRF REMS include the following:
- Prescribers for outpatient use must be certified with the REMS program by enrolling and completing training. Prescribers must document opioid tolerance with every FENTORA prescription.
- Outpatients must be enrolled in the REMS program and must be opioid-tolerant to receive FENTORA [see Dosage and Administration (2.1) ].
- Outpatient pharmacies must be certified with the REMS program and verify documentation of opioid tolerance with every FENTORA prescription.
- Inpatient pharmacies must be certified with the REMS program and develop policies and procedures to verify opioid tolerance in inpatients who require FENTORA while hospitalized.
- Wholesalers and distributors must enroll in the REMS program and distribute only to certified pharmacies.
Further information, including a list of certified pharmacies and enrolled distributors, is available at www.TIRFREMSAccess.com or by calling 1-866-822-1483.
Prolonged use of FENTORA during pregnancy can result in withdrawal in the neonate. Neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome, unlike opioid withdrawal syndrome in adults, may be life-threatening if not recognized and treated, and requires management according to protocols developed by neonatology experts. Observe newborns for signs of neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome and manage accordingly. Advise pregnant women using opioids for a prolonged period of the risk of neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome and ensure that appropriate treatment will be available [see Use in Specific Populations (8.1), Patient Counseling Information (17)].
5.9 Life-Threatening Respiratory Depression in Patients with Chronic Pulmonary Disease or in Elderly, Cachectic, or Debilitated Patients
The use of FENTORA in patients with acute or severe bronchial asthma in an unmonitored setting or in the absence of resuscitative equipment is contraindicated.
Patients with Chronic Pulmonary Disease: FENTORA-treated patients with significant chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or cor pulmonale, and those with a substantially decreased respiratory reserve, hypoxia, hypercapnia, or pre-existing respiratory depression are at increased risk of decreased respiratory drive including apnea, even at recommended dosages of FENTORA [see Warnings and Precautions (5.1)].
Elderly, Cachectic, or Debilitated Patients: Life-threatening respiratory depression is more likely to occur in elderly, cachectic, or debilitated patients because they may have altered pharmacokinetics or altered clearance compared to younger, healthier patients [see Warnings and Precautions (5.1)].
Monitor such patients closely, particularly when initiating and titrating FENTORA and when FENTORA is given concomitantly with other drugs that depress respiration [see Warnings and Precautions (5.1)]. Alternatively, consider the use of non-opioid analgesics in these patients.
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