Fentanyl Buccal

Ask A Pharmacist

Self medication is not recommended. Always discuss medication changes with your physician and pharmacist.

Name: fentanyl buccal film, "FEN-tuh-nil", Onsolis ™


Onsolis is officially approved in Canada for the management of breakthrough pain in adult cancer patients who are already taking opioids on a regular schedule for their persistent baseline cancer pain. 

How it works:

Onsolis is a strong opioid that is used to decrease sudden flares of pain or "breakthrough pain" that may happen between regularly scheduled opioid doses. Onsolis comes in a small film that attaches to the inside of the cheek and provides quick delivery of fentanyl into the bloodstream where it works to relieve pain. It can start working in 15 minutes.


Onsolis is contraindicated in patients not taking any opioids and in patients taking opioids "as needed".

Onsolis contains a medicine in an amount which can be fatal to children, in individuals for whom it is not prescribed, and in those who are not opioid tolerant. It must be stored safely, preferably in a locked container.


All patients MUST begin treatment using one 200mcg dose. Each dose is individually contained in a foil package which is opened immediately before the dose.

Use the tongue to wet the inside of the cheek or rinse the mouth with water to wet the cheek area . With dry hands place the pink side against the inside of the cheek. Hold the film in place until it sticks firmly (about 5-10 seconds). Let the film dissolve completely. Wait 5 minutes before drinking . Wait until the film is completely dissolved before eating. Do NOT swallow or chew the film because it will decrease its activity.

Follow your doctors instructions. Usually each dose should be at least 4 hours apart and only one dose should be used for each "breakthrough pain" episode.

Side Effects:

The most common side effects  are nausea, vomiting dizziness, dehydration, difficulty breathing and drowsiness. Call your doctor or get emergency help immediately if you experience extreme drowsiness, slow difficult breathing, inability to think, walk or talk normally since these are signs of overdose.


Onsolis is a unique form of fentanyl that delivers a strong dose of opioid quickly. It is very helpful to treat "breakthrough pain" in patients already taking regularly dosed opioids for cancer pain.

All units must be kept out of the reach of children and opened units properly discarded.

Always discuss medication with your physician and pharmacist to see if this medication is appropriate for you.

Janice Sumpton RPh, BScPhm.              January 28, 2012