Actiq is a brand name for the opioid drug fentanyl. Actiq comes as a lozenge on a handle (like a lollipop) and the fentanyl is quickly absorbed through the oral mucosa (along with fentanyl that is swallowed being slowly absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract), helping to relieve pain.It is for controlling breakthrough cancer pain in individuals taking opioid medications around-the-clock and tolerant to them.


The active ingredient in Actiq is fentanyl citrate. A man-made opioid pain medication, fentanyl’s potency is between 50 and 100 times more than that of morphine. Fentanyl is prescribed in a number of forms and brands, including sublingual tablets (e.g., Abstral), patches placed on the skin (e.g., Duragesic), and injectable forms.

In Actiq, the fentanyl is combined with inactive ingredients including citric acid, berry flavoring, and edible glue made with modified food starch and confectioner’s sugar to create berry-flavored medications sometimes referred to as fentanyl lollipops.

Special care must be taken with Actiq. It may cause deadly respiratory depression and other adverse effects. It should be used only in individuals tolerant to opioid and should not be used for postoperative or acute pain. It should be kept where children cannot obtain it. Misuse of Actiq may occur.


Prescription pain medication misuse and addiction are epidemic in the United States. Based on 2017 surveys, it was estimated that over 11 million people ages 12 and up misused prescription pain medications in the past year, including an estimated 245,000 who misused fentanyl in the past year. Additionally, it was estimated that over 1.6 million individuals ages 12 and up had a substance use disorder (SUD) involving prescription pain medications in the past year.

The potent narcotic fentanyl and/or other synthetic narcotics (not including methadone) have been involved in a rapidly growing number of overdose deaths in the United States. Over 28,400 of the overdose deaths in 2017 were related to fentanyl and/or other synthetic narcotics (excluding methadone).

Fentanyl can produce effects similar to that of heroin but is actually a much more potent drug.9 Fentanyl’s effects may include:

  • A euphoric “high.”
  • Pain relief.
  • Sleepiness.

The effects of fentanyl start quickly and have a short duration. Misusing opioids raises the risk of developing a SUD and of overdosing.10 Overdosing on Actiq can cause respiratory depression and death.


Whether someone is using Actiq appropriately or misusing it, they may experience side effects. Possible side effects that occur most often include:

  • Weakness.
  • Nausea/vomiting.
  • Headache.
  • Feeling dizzy.
  • Tiredness.
  • Sleep problems.
  • Rash.
  • Anxiousness.
  • Depression.
  • Being confused.


Other potential side effects may include:

  • Respiratory depression.
  • Low blood pressure.
  • Pain.
  • Fever.
  • Indigestion.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Dehydration.
  • Weight loss.
  • Decreased sexual desire.
  • Hallucinations.
  • Difficulty swallowing.
  • Seizures.


Actiq overdose may occur in an individual who is not prescribed Actiq correctly, in an individual who takes the drug differently than prescribed, or in an individual who uses it without a personal prescription. The depression of the central nervous system (CNS) may be heightened in individuals combining Actiq and other substances, such as alcohol, other opioids, sedatives, or other substances that depress the CNS.

Opioid overdose symptoms might include:

  • Breathing that is shallow and slow.
  • Going to sleep.
  • Becoming unconscious.
  • Small pupils.
  • Skin that is cold, pale, and/or blue.

Fentanyl overdose can be treated with naloxone, but due to the potent nature of the painkiller, more than one dose of naloxone may be required.

If you suspect that a person may have overdosed on opioids, right away call 911. Do not leave the person before first responders get there. If you have naloxone, give it to the person. Do your best to make sure the individual stays breathing and awake. To avert choking, the individual should be positioned on his or her side.


Fentanyl attaches to opioid receptors. One effect of this is the release of a neurotransmitter called dopamine—a physiologic response that can prompt the person to desire taking the drug again.

Credited to: Drug abuse




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