The effects of intranasal fentanyl citrate (INFC) were assessed in 12 hospice inpatients with cancer-related breakthrough pain. Patients received 20 microg of fentanyl citrate and were asked to rate their pain using a visual analogue scale (VAS) before INFC, then after 3, 5, 10, 15, 30, 45, and 60 minutes. Eight patients (66%) had reductions in pain scores, four within 5 minutes and seven within 10 minutes of taking INFC. Ratings for INFC were very good (5 = 42%), good (3 = 25%), moderate (1 = 8%), and bad (3 = 25%). In comparison to oral morphine, INFC was better (6 = 50%), the same (3 = 25%), or worse (3 = 25%). Nine patients (75%) said they would continue to use INFC. Of the three patients who did not experience a positive result, two were taking relatively higher baseline opioid doses and one was found to have a fracture. No systemic adverse events were noted; two patients reported nasal itching or discomfort on first use that disappeared with repeated use. Intranasal fentanyl citrate appears safe and well tolerated by these patients. Randomized placebo-controlled and dose-ranging studies are required to confirm these findings.