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  • Fentanyl citrate is a synthetic opioid analgesic (pain reliever) that can treat breakthrough cancer pain, chronic pain, and severe pain following surgery. 

    As with other opioid medications, it activates opioid receptors on nerve cells throughout the body and changes the way the brain and central nervous system react to pain. 

    This painkiller comes in multiple formulations, including a fentanyl lollipop. 

    What Is A Fentanyl Lollipop?

    Like a regular lollipop, a fentanyl lollipop consists of a lozenge attached to a handle. 

    The lozenge contains fentanyl along with hydrated dextrates (sugar), artificial berry flavor, citric acid, dibasic sodium phosphate, magnesium stearate, and edible glue (modified food starch and confectioner’s sugar). 

    Prescribed under the brand name Actiq, fentanyl lollipops use oral transmucosal drug delivery. That means the drug enters the body through the oral mucosa. The oral mucosa is the inner lining of the mouth that includes the buccal mucosa (the inner lining of the cheeks and lips).

    Side Effects Of Fentanyl Lollipops

    Like all prescription drugs, a fentanyl lollipop may cause side effects. The most common side effects include:

    • headache
    • constipation
    • dizziness
    • sleepiness
    • anxiety 
    • depression 

    It may also cause more serious side effects such as:

    • nausea and/or vomiting
    • rash and/or itching
    • extreme drowsiness
    • confusion
    • hallucinations (seeing, hearing, or feeling things that aren’t there)
    • respiratory depression (slow, troubled breathing)
    • seizures

    Contact your health care provider right away if you or someone you know experiences these serious side effects.

    Other Adverse Effects

    Fentanyl lollipops may increase your risk of tooth decay (cavities) due to their high sugar content. 

    In addition, fentanyl is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance. That means that while it can provide effective pain relief for cancer patients and others who experience severe pain, it poses a high risk of abuse and addiction, particularly if you take high doses.

    Moreover, as with all opioid drugs, using fentanyl lollipops can lead to an overdose, especially if you abuse them (use them in a manner not prescribed by your doctor). 

    Since a fentanyl overdose may be life-threatening, it’s a good idea to keep naloxone on hand if you or someone you know uses fentanyl lollipops. Naloxone is a medication that can rapidly reverse an opioid overdose. 

    If you or a loved one is addicted to fentanyl or another opioid pain medication, please contact an ARK Behavioral Health specialist to learn about our treatment programs.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2024 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.
    Medically Reviewed by
    Kimberly Langdon M.D.
    on March 17, 2022
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