Coyne, P. J., Viswanathan, R., & Smith, T. J. (2002). Nebulized fentanyl citrate improves patients’ perception of breathing, respiratory rate, and oxygen saturation in dyspnea. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 23, 157–160.
To test the theory: "Inhaled opioids usually are ineffective with report of respiratory depression; however, fentanyl may be more readily absorbed with less bronchospasm and thus relieve dyspnea."
Patients were given 25 mcg of fentanyl with 2 mL of saline via a nebulizer.
The study used a convenience sample, uncontrolled design.
Fentanyl improved all three measures and may offer substantial relief of dyspnea. No significant side effects were reported.
Clinical questions about repeated dosing and method of administration (mask or mouthpiece) remain.