Pain patches are an effective and convenient way to deliver certain medications directly to the skin. However, they can also cause side effects if not used properly.

Before using a patch, read the directions carefully. If you are not sure, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

1. Clean the Patch Site

Before you put the patch on, make sure your skin is clean and dry. Use water to clean the area, and remove any soap, lotions or oils, click here.

Choose a place on your body that is easy to reach, such as the upper chest or back. Avoid areas that are red, swollen or sore.

Then remove the liner covering the sticky part of the patch. Apply the patch to a flat, non-hairy, intact skin site. If you have hair, clip the hair before applying the patch to prevent it from clogging the pores or causing skin irritation.

2. Clean Your Hands

The best way to keep your hands germ-free is to wash them well with soap and water. This is an important part of your daily hygiene routine, and it will also help with the application of your pain patch.

You should also be sure to clean any debris from your hands, such as a dry tissue or piece of fruit, so it doesn’t get into the sticky surface of your fentanyl patch. This may prevent the patch from sticking properly or increase your risk of a nasty side effect.

3. Apply the Patch

Before you apply a patch, carefully choose an area of skin that is smooth and hairless. Do not apply on burns, cuts, irritated skin or areas that have been exposed to radiation (x-ray treatment).

Place the patch sticky side down onto the clean area of skin and press it down firmly. It may take 20 or 30 seconds to make sure all of the adhesive sticks well.

5. Don’t Overuse the Patch

Using a fentanyl patch too much at one time can cause severe side effects or even death. Use your patch only as directed by your doctor and never use it when you are exposed to direct heat, such as heating pads, electric blankets, saunas, or tanning lamps.

You should also not take long baths or showers in hot water while you are wearing the patch. If you get a fever while you are using your patch, call your doctor right away.

6. Don’t Overdo the Dose

Transdermal drug patches, also called “skin patch” drugs, are a good choice for people who can’t take pain medication orally. These patches release small doses of drug over a long period of time.

Using the patch incorrectly can cause overdose or death. Overdose happens when you apply the patch too often or use it for a longer time than your doctor has prescribed.

If you need to apply more than one patch, remove each before applying the next. Do not apply any patches to the same site of skin.

7. Don’t Overdo the Schedule

If you’re using a pain patch, it’s important to keep the schedule consistent. For example, if you take a fentanyl patch, don’t wear it for more than 72 hours at a time. The patch may lose its effectiveness if you put it on too often or it gets damaged. If it’s time to change the patch, do so as soon as possible. This will ensure that you don’t overdose or develop withdrawal symptoms. It’s also important to remove the patch before applying a new one.