Cancer Home > Fentanyl Sublingual Spray

Fentanyl sublingual spray is a drug used for relieving breakthrough cancer pain in people who are already taking an around-the-clock pain medication. This strong narcotic opioid has a high potential for abuse. The medicine comes as a liquid that is sprayed under the tongue every four hours as needed for pain relief. Side effects may include vomiting, dizziness, and constipation.

What Is Fentanyl Sublingual Spray?

Fentanyl sublingual spray (Subsys®) is a prescription opioid pain medication approved to manage breakthrough pain (intense flares of pain that "break through" regularly scheduled pain medication) in people with cancer who are already taking opioid pain medication around-the-clock for their persistent cancer pain. It comes in the form of a liquid that is sprayed under the tongue.
Like other fentanyl medications, fentanyl sublingual spray is a Schedule II controlled substance. Schedule II controlled substances are considered to have the highest abuse potential of all prescription medications. As a controlled substance, there are strict laws and regulations controlling the use of this medication.
(Click What Is Fentanyl Sublingual Spray Used For? for more information on this topic, including possible off-label uses.)

Are There Side Effects?

Just like any medicine, fentanyl sublingual spray can cause side effects. However, not everyone who uses the drug will experience problems. In fact, most people tolerate it quite well.
If reactions do occur, in most cases, they are minor and either require no treatment or are treated easily by you or your healthcare provider. Serious reactions are less common.
Common side effects of fentanyl sublingual spray may include but are not limited to:
(Click Side Effects of Fentanyl Sublingual Spray to learn more, including potentially serious side effects you should report immediately to your healthcare provider.)
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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