Abstral is a medication prescribed for relieving breakthrough pain in adults with cancer who are taking around-the-clock pain medication. It is used on an "as-needed" basis and is not appropriate for treating pain after a surgery, headache pain, or any other short-term pain. At this time, there are no widely accepted off-label (unapproved) uses for Abstral.
What Is Abstral Used For?Abstral® (fentanyl sublingual tablets) is a strong prescription opioid pain medication used to manage breakthrough pain in people with cancer who are already taking regularly scheduled pain treatment for their persistent cancer pain. Breakthrough pain is intense pain that occurs suddenly, even though other pain medication is being taken on a regular basis.
Abstral comes as a small, sublingual tablet. It is placed on the floor of the mouth, under the tongue, where it is allowed to dissolve.
Abstral is only approved for use in people who have been taking other opioid pain medications and are tolerant to their effects. In general, people are considered opioid tolerant if they have been taking at least 60 mg of morphine, 30 mg of oxycodone, 8 mg of hydromorphone, 25 mcg of fentanyl patch (Duragesic®), or an equivalent dose of another opioid every day for at least a week.
This medication should not be used to treat short-term pain (sometimes called acute pain), including pain after surgery or other medical or dental procedures, or headache or migraine pain.
Abstral is a Schedule II controlled substance because it has a very high potential for abuse. Schedule II medications are considered to have the highest abuse potential of all prescription medicines. There are strict laws and regulations for prescribing and obtaining Abstral.