It has been claimed that fentanyl patches are less suitable for elderly patients and for patients who are terminally ill and dying. In a retrospective survey of 205 cancer patients who died within the hospital-based home care in Norrköping, Sweden between January 1997 and June 1998 we identified 34 patients who had used fentanyl patches. 30 patients were possible to evaluate for the analgesic efficacy of transdermal fentanyl. 18 out of 30 patients were treated with fentanyl until time of death. The estimated efficacy was good or moderate in 93% and 88%, respectively, of patients younger or older than 65 years of age.