Prostate Cancer Home > What Is Fentanyl Nasal Spray Used For?

How Does It Work?

Fentanyl nasal spray contains fentanyl, a strong opioid narcotic medication. Fentanyl works by binding to a specific type of opioid receptor located throughout the body, called the opioid mu-receptor. After binding to these receptors, Fentanyl produces many different effects in the body, including but not limited to:
 
  • Pain relief
  • Drowsiness
  • Changes in mood, including feelings of unease (dysphoria) or unusually pleasant feelings (euphoria)
  • Cough suppression
  • Slowed or shallow breathing
  • Slowing of the digestive tract, which can lead to constipation
  • Pupil constriction
  • Physical dependence.
 
Fentanyl nasal spray is sprayed into the nostril, where it is absorbed through the inner lining of the nose into the bloodstream. Blood levels peak approximately 15 to 20 minutes after the medication is used.
 

Can Children Use Fentanyl Nasal Spray?

Fentanyl nasal spray is only approved for use in people 18 years of age and older. It has not been adequately studied in younger age groups. This medication can be dangerous if accidentally taken by a child. Therefore, it should be kept out of the reach of children at all times.
 

Is It Safe for Older Adults?

Although older adults can use fentanyl nasal spray, they may be more sensitive to the effects of this medicine and may require lower doses.
 

Are There Off-Label Reasons to Use Fentanyl Nasal Spray?

On occasion, your healthcare provider may recommend this nasal spray for something other than breakthrough cancer pain. This is known as an "off-label" use. Fentanyl nasal spray may be prescribed off-label to treat breakthrough pain associated with conditions other than cancer.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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