How to Properly Destroy a Fentanyl Patch

Updated July 20, 2017

Fentanyl is a potent opioid narcotic used to treat chronic and acute pain. This drug, also known by other names such as Duragesic or Sublimaze, is categorised as a controlled substance because of the highly addictive and potentially hazardous nature of the drug. Fatal respiratory and central nervous system depression can occur from accidental or intentional overdose of Fentanyl. Therefore, it is imperative to properly dispose of this medication according to guidelines set by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA.)

Remove any unused Fentanyl patches from their original packaging and pull off the plastic film from the back. Overlap the self-adhering patch onto itself, being careful not to touch the surface area of the patch beneath the film.

Carefully peel off used Fentanyl patches from the body, using caution to touch just the sides and back of the patch. The medication is considered transdermal (through the unbroken skin) and can still be received by the body through touching with the fingertips. Fold over on itself so that the side with medication is covered.

Place into toilet and flush, ensuring that the patch flushes fully and does not remain or resurface in the toilet after flushing. If the patch does not fully submerge, reflush until it is no longer visible and is safe from retrieval.

Wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water. Dispose of all packaging. Destroy any prescription information on the packaging that states the name of the patient for whom the medication was prescribed, as well as any refill information.


Only flush medicines that are specified to be discarded in this manner. Otherwise, follow the FDA's recommended guidelines for proper disposal of medications, which usually include crushing and mixing with used coffee grounds, kitty litter, or other unsavory absorbable substances.


Keep any and all prescription medication away from children, animals or any other person that may be at risk for accidental ingestion or overdose.

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About the Author

Michael Gray has been writing since 2006. He has authored a book entitled, "Sleep with this Book: A step-by-step guide to becoming a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)." Gray has been in the medical field for 10 years. He has a Bachelor of Science in nursing from the University of Memphis.