Cancer Home > Actiq Uses

How Does Actiq Work?

Actiq contains fentanyl, a very strong opioid narcotic medication. Fentanyl binds to a specific type of opioid receptor, called the opioid mu-receptor. Opioid mu-receptors are located throughout the body. Fentanyl produces many different effects by binding to these opioid receptors.
 
The effects of fentanyl include but are 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.
 

Can Children Use Actiq?

Actiq is only approved for use in people 16 years of age and older. It has not been determined to be safe or effective for children younger than 16 years old. There have been reports of death in children who have accidentally consumed this medication.
 

Can Older Adults Use Actiq?

Yes, older adults can use Actiq, but should do so with caution. Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this medication and may require a lower dose.
 

Is Actiq Used for Off-Label Reasons?

On occasion, your healthcare provider may recommend Actiq for something other than cancer pain. This is known as an "off-label" use. For example, Actiq may be prescribed off-label to treat breakthrough pain associated with chronic pain from a condition other than cancer.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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