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Pain Research and Treatment
Volume 2012, Article ID 768796, 3 pages
Review Article

A Review of Transbuccal Fentanyl Use in the Emergency Department

Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Oklahoma School of Community Medicine, 1145 South Utica Avenue, Suite 600, Tulsa, OK 74104, USA

Received 6 December 2011; Accepted 3 January 2012

Academic Editor: Mellar P. Davis

Copyright © 2012 Annette O. Arthur and Peyton Holder. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Patients with severe, painful injuries and illnesses treated in the emergency department are commonly administered opioid medications. Intravenous administration provides the most rapid onset of pain relief and is readily titrated. Fentanyl, administered intravenously, is well documented as an effective medication for pain management in the emergency department. It is preferred in many settings due to its minimal hemodynamic effects, as compared to other commonly used opioids. However, not all patients require intravenous access. These patients are given orally administered pain medications. The oral route is effective at minimizing pain but has a much slower onset of action when compared to the intravenous route. As an alternative to the slower onset of action seen with oral opioids, this paper discusses the use of fentanyl buccal tablet for pain management in the emergency department. Fentanyl buccal tablets are readily absorbed, with a bioavailability of approximately 65%, and have a more rapid onset of action than achieved with traditional oral opioids used in the emergency department.