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Important Safety Information


Life Threatening Respiratory Depression

  • Use of IONSYS may result in potentially life-threatening respiratory depression and death as a result of the active drug, fentanyl. Only the patient should activate IONSYS dosing.
  • Accidental exposure to an intact IONSYS or to the hydrogel component, especially by children, through contact with skin or contact with mucous membranes, can result in a fatal overdose of fentanyl.
  • IONSYS is for use only in patients in the hospital. Discontinue treatment with IONSYS before patients leave the hospital.

IONSYS Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) Program

  • Because of the potentially life-threatening respiratory depression resulting from accidental exposure, IONSYS is available only through a restricted program under a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) called the IONSYS REMS Program.

Addiction, Abuse, and Misuse

  • IONSYS exposes users to risks of addiction, abuse, and misuse, which can lead to overdose and death. Assess each patient’s risk before prescribing and monitor regularly for development of these behaviors or conditions.

Cytochrome P450 3A4 Interaction

  • The concomitant use of IONSYS with all cytochrome P450 3A4 inhibitors may result in an increase in fentanyl plasma concentrations, which could increase or prolong adverse drug effects and may cause potentially fatal respiratory depression. In addition, discontinuation of a concomitantly used cytochrome P450 3A4 inducer may result in an increase in fentanyl plasma concentration. Monitor patients receiving IONSYS and any CYP3A4 inhibitor or inducer.


  • Significant respiratory depression
  • Acute or severe bronchial asthma
  • Known or suspected paralytic ileus and GI obstruction
  • Hypersensitivity to fentanyl, cetylpyridinium chloride (e.g., Cepacol®), or any components of IONSYS

Warnings and Precautions

  • Interactions with CNS depressants: Hypotension, profound sedation, coma, respiratory depression, and death may result if IONSYS is used concomitantly with alcohol or other central nervous system (CNS) depressants (e.g., sedatives, anxiolytics, hypnotics, neuroleptics, other opioids). Monitor patients closely if co-administration is required.
  • Risk of Injury During MRI: IONSYS contains metal parts and must be removed and properly disposed of before a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) procedure. Monitor any patients wearing IONSYS with inadvertent exposure to an MRI for signs of central nervous system and respiratory depression.
  • Risk of IONSYS Use During Other Procedures or Near Certain Equipment: Use of IONSYS during cardioversion, defibrillation, X-ray, CT, or diathermy can damage IONSYS and should be removed and properly disposed of before these procedures. Avoid contact with synthetic materials (such as carpeted flooring) to reduce the possibility of electrostatic discharge and damage to IONSYS. Avoid exposing IONSYS to electronic security systems to reduce the possibility of damage to IONSYS. Use of IONSYS near communications equipment (e.g., base stations for radio telephones and land mobile radios, amateur radio, AM and FM radio broadcast and TV broadcast radio) and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) transmitters can damage IONSYS. If exposure to the above procedures, electronic security systems, electrostatic discharge, communications equipment, or RFID transmitters occurs, and if IONSYS does not appear to function normally, remove IONSYS and replace with a new IONSYS.
  • Topical Skin Reactions: Topical skin reactions may occur with use of IONSYS and are typically limited to the site application area. If a severe skin reaction is observed, remove IONSYS and discontinue further use.
  • Use in Elderly, Cachectic, and Debilitated Patients: Life-threatening respiratory depression is more likely to occur in elderly, cachectic, or debilitated patients. Monitor such patients closely especially when IONSYS is used concomitantly with other drugs that depress respiration.
  • Use in Patients with Chronic Pulmonary Disease: Monitor patients with significant chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or cor pulmonale, and patients having a substantially decreased respiratory reserve, hypoxia, hypercapnia, or pre-existing respiratory depression for respiratory depression, particularly when initiating therapy with IONSYS. Consider the use of alternative non-opioid analgesics in these patients if possible.
  • Hypotensive Effect: IONSYS may cause severe hypotension, including orthostatic hypotension and syncope in ambulatory patients. There is increased risk in patients whose ability to maintain blood pressure has already been compromised by a reduced blood volume, or concurrent administration of certain CNS depressant drugs (e.g., phenothiazines or general anesthetics). Monitor these patients after initiating IONSYS. Avoid the use of IONSYS in patients with circulatory shock as IONSYS may cause vasodilation that can further reduce cardiac output and blood pressure.
  • Patients with Head Injury or Increased Intracranial Pressure: IONSYS is not suitable for use in patients who are not alert and able to follow directions. Monitor patients using IONSYS who may be susceptible to the intracranial effects of CO2 retention (e.g., those with evidence of increased intracranial pressure or brain tumors) for signs of sedation and respiratory depression, particularly when initiating therapy with IONSYS. Avoid use of IONSYS in patients with impaired consciousness or coma. IONSYS may reduce respiratory drive, and the resultant CO2 retention can further increase intracranial pressure. Opioids may obscure the clinical course of patients with head injury.
  • Use in Patients with Gastrointestinal Conditions: IONSYS is contraindicated in patients with gastrointestinal obstruction, including paralytic ileus. Fentanyl may cause spasm of the sphincter of Oddi. Monitor patients with biliary tract disease, including acute pancreatitis for worsening symptoms. Opioids may cause increases in serum amylase.
  • Use in Patients with Convulsive or Seizure Disorders: IONSYS may aggravate convulsions in patients with convulsive disorders and may induce or aggravate seizures in some clinical settings. Monitor patients with a history of seizure disorders for worsened seizure control during IONSYS therapy.
  • Bradycardia: IONSYS may produce bradycardia in some patients. Monitor patients with bradyarrhythmias closely for changes in heart rate, particularly when initiating therapy with IONSYS.
  • Hepatic Impairment: Insufficient data are available on the use of IONSYS in patients with impaired hepatic function. Monitor for signs of sedation and respiratory depression in patients with hepatic impairment.
  • Renal Impairment: A clinical pharmacology study with intravenous fentanyl in patients undergoing kidney transplantation has shown that patients with high blood urea nitrogen level had low fentanyl clearance. Monitor for signs of sedation and respiratory depression in patients with renal impairment.

Adverse Reactions

Most common (frequency ≥2%) adverse reactions are headache, hypotension, nausea, vomiting, anemia, dizziness, application site reaction-erythema, pruritus, and urinary retention.

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