September 2, 2015
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(fentanyl buccal) Soluble Film



ONSOLIS contains fentanyl, an opioid agonist and a Schedule II controlled substance, with abuse liability similar to other opioid analgesics. This should be considered when prescribing or dispensing ONSOLIS in situations where the physician or pharmacist is concerned about an increased risk of misuse, abuse or diversion. Schedule II opioid substances, which include morphine, oxycodone, hydromorphone, oxymorphone, and methadone, have the highest potential for abuse and risk of fatal overdose due to respiratory depression.

Serious adverse events, including deaths, in patients treated with other oral transmucosal fentanyl products have been reported. Deaths occurred as a result of improper patient selection (e.g., use in opioid non-tolerant patients) and/or improper dosing. The substitution of ONSOLIS for any other fentanyl product may result in fatal overdose.

ONSOLIS is indicated only for the management of breakthrough pain in patients with cancer, 18 years of age and older, who are already receiving and who are tolerant to opioid therapy for their underlying persistent cancer pain. Patients considered opioid tolerant are those who are taking at least: 60 mg oral morphine/day, 25 mcg transdermal fentanyl/hour, 30 mg oral oxycodone/day, 8 mg oral hydromorphone/day, 25 mg oral oxymorphone/day, or an equianalgesic dose of another opioid for one week or longer.

ONSOLIS is contraindicated for use in opioid non-tolerant patients including those using opioids intermittently, on an as needed basis.

ONSOLIS is contraindicated in the management of acute or postoperative pain, including headache/migraine, dental pain, or use in the emergency room. Life-threatening respiratory depression could occur at any dose in opioid non-tolerant patients. Deaths have occurred in opioid non-tolerant patients treated with other fentanyl products.

When prescribing, do not convert patients on a mcg per mcg basis from any other oral transmucosal fentanyl product to ONSOLIS. Patients beginning treatment with ONSOLIS must begin with titration from the 200 mcg dose [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION].

When dispensing, do not substitute an ONSOLIS prescription for any other fentanyl product. Substantial differences exist in the pharmacokinetic profile of ONSOLIS compared to other fentanyl products that result in clinically important differences in the extent of absorption of fentanyl. As a result of these differences, the substitution of ONSOLIS for any other fentanyl product may result in fatal overdose.

Special care must be used when dosing ONSOLIS. If the breakthrough pain episode is not relieved, patients should wait at least 2 hours before taking another dose [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION].

ONSOLIS is intended to be used only in the care of opioid tolerant patients with cancer and only by healthcare professionals who are knowledgeable of, and skilled in, the use of Schedule II opioids to treat cancer pain.

Patients and their caregivers must be instructed that ONSOLIS contains a medicine in an amount which can be fatal in children, in individuals for whom it is not prescribed, and in those who are not opioid tolerant. All ONSOLIS films must be kept out of the reach of children [see PATIENT INFORMATION].

The concomitant use of ONSOLIS with CYP3A4 inhibitors may result in an increase in fentanyl plasma concentrations and may cause potentially fatal respiratory depression [see DRUG INTERACTIONS].

Because of the risk for misuse, abuse, and overdose, ONSOLIS is available only through a restricted distribution program, called the FOCUS Program. Under the FOCUS Program, only prescribers, pharmacies, and patients registered with the program are able to prescribe, dispense, and receive ONSOLIS. To enroll in the FOCUS Program, call 1-877-466-7654 (1-877-4ONSOLIS) or visit [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].


ONSOLIS (fentanyl buccal soluble film) is an oral transmucosal form of the potent opioid analgesic, fentanyl citrate, intended for application to the buccal mucosa. ONSOLIS uses the BioErodible MucoAdhesive (BEMA™) bilayer delivery technology which is comprised of water-soluble polymeric films. ONSOLIS consists of a pink bioadhesive layer bonded onto a white inactive layer. The active ingredient, fentanyl citrate, is incorporated into the bioadhesive layer, which adheres to the moist buccal mucosa. The amount of fentanyl delivered transmucosally is proportional to the film surface area. It is believed that the inactive layer isolates the bioadhesive layer from the saliva, which may optimize delivery of fentanyl across the buccal mucosa.

Active Ingredient: Fentanyl citrate, USP is N-(1-Phenethyl-4- piperidyl) propionanilide citrate (1:1). Fentanyl is a highly lipophilic compound (octanol-water partition coefficient at pH 7.4 is 816:1) that is freely soluble in organic solvents and sparingly soluble in water (1:40). The molecular weight of the free base is 336.5 (the citrate salt is 528.6). The pKa of the tertiary nitrogens are 7.3 and 8.4. Fentanyl citrate has the following structural formula:

ONSOLIS (fentanyl buccal) Structural Formula Illustration

Inactive Ingredients: Carboxymethylcellulose, citric acid, hydroxyethyl cellulose, hydroxypropyl cellulose, methylparaben, monobasic sodium phosphate, peppermint oil, polycarbophil, propylene glycol, propylparaben, red iron oxide, sodium benzoate, sodium hydroxide, sodium saccharin, titanium dioxide, tribasic sodium phosphate, vitamin E acetate, and water.

What are the possible side effects of fentanyl buccal (Fentora, Onsolis)?

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using fentanyl and call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • weak or shallow breathing;
  • pale skin, feeling light-headed or short of breath, rapid heart rate, trouble concentrating; or
  • feeling very thirsty or hot, being unable to urinate, heavy sweating, or hot and dry skin.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • nausea, vomiting,...

Read All Potential Side Effects and See Pictures of Onsolis »

What are the precautions when taking fentanyl buccal soluble film (Onsolis)?

Before taking fentanyl, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: brain disorders (such as head injury, tumor, seizures), breathing problems (such as asthma, sleep apnea, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease-COPD), kidney disease, liver disease, mental/mood disorders (such as confusion, depression), personal or family history of regular use/abuse of drugs/alcohol, stomach/intestinal problems (such as blockage, constipation, diarrhea due to infection, paralytic ileus), difficulty urinating...

Read All Potential Precautions of Onsolis »

Last reviewed on RxList: 1/26/2015
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

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