Fentora is a powerful painkiller in the opioid family, similar to morphine, and is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the very limited use for the treatment of breakthrough pain in cancer patients currently on around-the-clock opioid therapy. The active ingredient in Fentora is fentanyl buccal. Fentora comes in the form of a lozenge on a stick, like a lollipop. The lozenge is placed above the rear molar tooth between the upper cheek and gum. Patients sometimes experience a gentle bubbling sensation where the tablet was placed as it dissolves.
About half of the active ingredient is absorbed through the lining of the mouth and goes into the bloodstream where it is carried throughout the body. It travels to the central nervous system where it relieves pain in as fast as 15 minutes. The other half of the fentanyl is swallowed as the lozenge is dissolved and is absorbed more slowly through the stomach and intestines similar to a pill.
Fentora is not safe for patients who have not regularly used other opioid pain medication on a daily, around-the-clock basis and have built up a resistance to opioids. If taken inappropriately Fentora can cause life-threatening breathing problems that can be fatal.
Despite these warnings, some doctors prescribe Fentora for the off-label, or unapproved by the FDA, treatment of headaches, back pain and injuries. The FDA warns that such use is dangerous and has lead to deaths and serious injuries in patients who have taken Fentora without having first built up a tolerance to opioids.