Cancer Home > Onsolis Abuse

As a narcotic, Onsolis (fentanyl buccal soluble film) can lead to physical dependence when used for a long time, and some people may develop an addiction. However, there is a significant difference between true addiction and a simple physical dependence on the drug. The consequences of abusing Onsolis can be dangerous, possibly resulting in breathing problems, coma, and even death.

An Overview of Abusing Onsolis

Onsolis™ (fentanyl buccal soluble film) is a prescription pain medication used to manage breakthrough pain (sudden intense bursts of pain that "break through" regularly scheduled pain medication) in people with cancer. It comes in the form of a small film that is dissolved in the mouth, on the inside of the cheek.
 
Onsolis contains fentanyl, a strong opioid narcotic. Like all narcotics, it has a high potential for abuse. Because of its abuse potential, Onsolis is considered a Schedule II federally controlled substance, like morphine, oxycodone, hydromorphone, oxymorphone, and methadone. Schedule II substances have the highest potential for abuse of all prescription medications.
 

Addiction Versus Dependence

Like all narcotics, Onsolis can lead to physical dependence. Physical dependence occurs when the body becomes used to a drug and needs it to function normally. If you suddenly stop using this medication, it will cause withdrawal symptoms. This is an expected physical response to using a narcotic for long periods.
 
In addition, the body may become tolerant to the effects of a drug. In the case of Onsolis, this means that higher doses may be needed over time to achieve the same pain-relieving effects. In many cases, people who have been on narcotics for long periods can take doses so large they would cause an overdose in people who do not take narcotics.
 
It is important to keep in mind that physical dependence and tolerance are not necessarily the same as addiction and abuse. Addiction is a serious and complex disease associated with drug abuse, drug craving, uncontrolled use, and continued drug use despite harm.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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