Defect In The Delivery System Can Allow For Fentanyl Overdose
Fentanyl pain patches are prescribed for patients with severe chronic pain when lesser painkillers have proved ineffective. About 100 times stronger than morphine, fentanyl is an extremely powerful opioid and should only be used in connection with this kind of “breakthrough pain.”
Placed on the skin, a fentanyl transdermal system includes the narcotic in gel form inside a reservoir, intended for release over a period of several days. However, defective products carry the risk of serious adverse effects, including a potentially fatal overdose.
The most common products associated with this drug are the Duragesic patch, distributed by the pharmaceutical company PriCara, and the generic Actavis fentanyl patch. There have been multiple recalls of these drugs since fentanyl transdermal patches gained popularity in the 1990s, and as recently as 2008, batches of both Duragesic and Actavis were recalled due to different types of defects that could have led to leaking and thus overdoses.
Duragesic patch side effects, as well as the side effects of fentanyl generally, vary in severity. However, anyone who uses a fentanyl patch should be aware of the signs of a fentanyl overdose, which include slowed breathing or heartbeat, pinpoint pupils, clammy skin, fainting, and seizures. As fentanyl toxicity can end in fatal respiratory depression, anyone experiencing these symptoms after taking the drug should immediately seek medical attention.
The opioid comes in other forms as well, including fentanyl citrate, which is an injectable form often used as a supplement to anesthesia, and the Actiq “lollipop” in which the drug is contained in a flavored lozenge.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has stressed that patients using this powerful narcotic should carefully read the full prescribing information, including all appropriate warnings. Most contain a number of black box warnings, which indicate that the medication carries a significant risk of serious or even life-threatening adverse effects.
Patients using them should also carefully check for any imperfections, including tears, folds, or cuts, before use. Any found to be defective should be flushed, and the patient should wash any exposed skin with water.
Since the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began issuing warnings about the drug in 2005 there have been hundreds of related fatalities reported. Many of these deaths have been linked to: (1) doctors prescribing the medicine inappropriately, (2) a failure of the manufacturers to provide adequate warnings, or (3) defective products. In many cases, the victims of adverse affects or the families of the victims of fatal overdoses have sought assistance from attorneys. Anyone who has suffered injury related to a Duragesic patch, an Actavis transdermal patch, or any other form, should consider consulting an attorney to find out if they may have a potential claim in a fentanyl overdose lawsuit.
Of course, research is vital for any legal matter. Using a directory such as LegalTube can help those who have suffered medication side effects to find an experienced drug liability attorney.
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