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If you have a chronic medical condition or serious injury, you may suffer from extreme discomfort. Fortunately, you probably do not have to grit your teeth and bear the pain. On the contrary, medical professionals have a variety of ways to help you address discomfort. Fentanyl patches are one option. 

When prescribed and used correctly, the fentanyl transdermal patch is an effective way to manage pain. This patch, placed directly on the skin, allows for the slow release of synthetic pain medication. Of course, as with any opioid, there are serious consequences for misusing the patch. Here are four reasons fentanyl patches can be problematic:

  1. Potency 

Fentanyl is an extremely potent pain reliever. In fact, according to experts, the substance is 50 to 100 times stronger than either morphine or heroin. As such, even a tiny amount of fentanyl can have deadly consequences for both humans and animals.

  1. Usage 

Given its potency and effectiveness, doctors must be careful with how they prescribe fentanyl. While a fentanyl patch is appropriate for chronic discomfort, physicians should not prescribe one to treat acute pain. Still, doctors regularly use fentanyl patches to help patients manage immediate or sharp pain. Unfortunately, doing so can contribute to addiction and other serious health problems.

  1. Handling 

Fentanyl patches are sticky, but they sometimes dislodge. If a person or pet touches or ingests a used patch, catastrophic consequences may occur. Unfortunately, patients may not realize they are missing a fentanyl patch until someone else has already come into contact with it.

  1. Diversion 

There is currently an opioid epidemic raging in cities across the United States, including Chicago. In attempting to get a fix, unscrupulous health care professionals may steal fentanyl patches from vulnerable patients, such as those with dementia. This may cause an at-risk individual both not to receive necessary pain medication and to experience life-threatening withdrawal symptoms.

Because fentanyl patches can be problematic, doctors must be careful when prescribing them. You must also use them correctly. After all, if something goes awry, you may suffer extreme harm.