FDA Asks Parents To Keep Fentanyl Patches Away From Kids

Posted on September 24, 2013

For people that suffer from chronic pain, sometimes potent medications are seemingly the only way that they can find relief.  When used properly and under the guidance of a qualified medical professional, these items should be safe for the user.  But where things get tricky is when people not provided the prescription are able to gain access to such strong opioids, endangering themselves in the process.

The Food and Drug Administration wants to make sure children won’t be harmed by such an occurrence, and to that end, the agency has come out with a safety alert focused on the potential danger posed by fentanyl patches.  These patches work by way of the release of medication over three subsequent days.  Unfortunately, they have also led to their share of heartbreak.  32 accidental exposure incidents have been reported since 1997, and the victim is most often a young child.  A dozen people have been hospitalized due to exposure while another dozen have died.

There are things that a person using a fentanyl patch can do to prevent access by children, adults, and even pets.  Proper storage and disposal are going to be some of the most important steps to take.  When it comes to keeping these patches stored, they shouldn’t be kept where a child could easily reach them.

You have to understand how a child might perceive the product.  If they simply see it lying out, even an older child may mistakenly believe that the item is something like a stick-on tattoo or a sticker.  They may grab the patch and play with it just because it’s there.  When it contacts their skin, it can immediately be transferred to their system.

Therefore, keep the patches in a storage area far off the ground and secured by a child-resistant lock.  When it comes to disposal, people are usually advised to bring drugs to a sanctioned disposal event at a local pharmacy or police station.  In this case, the FDA believes that the ramifications of a child getting ahold of a patch is enough to advise parents to flush the patches, folded in half, down the toilet.  They believe that keeping the products away from kids in this way outweighs the potential environmental impact.

One thing that parents also have to be aware of is the propensity for children to come into contact with the patch even when it’s being worn.  There’s always the possibility that it could come loose, or if you’re carrying the child, that they will bump up against it.  Thus, it’s wise to cover the patch with some type of adhesive so that no one else could make contact.

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