Cancer Home > Onsolis

Onsolis is approved for the treatment of breakthrough pain in people with cancer who are already taking a regularly scheduled pain medication. This prescription medication comes in the form of a small film, which is placed on the inside of the cheek until it completely dissolves. Possible side effects include nausea, vomiting, and tiredness. As an opioid narcotic, Onsolis has a high potential for abuse.

What Is Onsolis?

Onsolis™ (fentanyl buccal soluble film) is an opioid pain medication used to treat breakthrough pain (sudden bursts of pain that "break through" around-the-clock pain medication) in people with cancer who are regularly taking an opioid medication for their constant cancer pain. Onsolis comes as a small film, which is dissolved in the mouth inside of the cheek.
Onsolis is considered a Schedule II controlled substance because it has a high potential for abuse. Schedule II controlled substances have the highest abuse potential of all prescription medications. There are strict laws and regulations controlling its sale and use.
(Click Onsolis Uses for more information on this topic, including possible off-label uses.)

Who Makes This Medication?

Onsolis is manufactured by Aveva Drug Delivery Systems for Meda Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

How Does Onsolis Work?

Onsolis contains fentanyl, a strong opioid narcotic medication. It comes in the form of a film, which sticks to the inside of the cheek. As the film dissolves, fentanyl is absorbed through the lining of the mouth.
Fentanyl works by binding to opioid mu-receptors throughout the body, producing many different effects. Some of these effects, such as pain relief, are desirable; other effects, such as slowing down the digestive tract, are undesirable and lead to side effects such as constipation.
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
  • Pupil constriction
  • Itching
  • Physical dependence.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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