Duragesic Pain Patches Carry Risk of Accidental Death
Patients who use the Duragesic fentanyl patch to treat chronic pain need to be aware of the risk for a potentially fatal overdose.
The Duragesic pain patch was first approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1997 to treat chronic pain conditions in patients for whom other treatment methods had proven ineffective. The Duragesic pain patch is manufactured by Janssen Pharmaceuticals and there are also a number of generic patches made by other pharmaceutical companies. The pain patches contain a concentrated gel layer of fentanyl, an extremely potent opioid narcotic that is approximately 80 to 100 times stronger than morphine. The patches come in varying doses and are designed to be worn over a specific period of time, during which the fentanyl is gradually absorbed into the body.
While the Duragesic pain patch can offer relief for patients who are suffering from severe pain caused by cancer or other conditions, patients who use them may be at risk for experiencing a fentanyl overdose. In July 2005, the FDA issued a public safety warning advising patients and health care providers that numerous deaths had been reported among patients using a fentanyl patch. A second warning was issued in 2007, after more Duragesic pain patch deaths were reported. The second warning also included additional information regarding the proper use of the fentanyl patches in order to reduce the risk of an accidental overdose.
Specifically, the FDA advised patients to avoid using the patches close to heat sources, such as heating pads, hot tubs or electric blankets, as the added heat could potentially cause the fentanyl to be absorbed into the body at a faster rate. The warning also advised consumers to be aware of the potential signs of a fentanyl overdose, which may include:
- Shallow breathing
- Cold, clammy skin
- Extreme drowsiness
- Trouble walking or talking
- Feeling faint
Additionally, patients have also been warned about the potential for adverse reactions when the Duragesic pain patch is used in conjunction with other medications. Specifically, patients are advised to avoid using a fentanyl transdermal patch while using other narcotic drugs and alcohol, as this can significantly increase the risk of complications. The FDA also cautions against using a fentanyl pain patch that has been cut or damaged in any way, as this may result in an accidental overdose.
Numerous wrongful death lawsuits have been filed against the makers of the Duragesic pain patch. These lawsuits allege that the manufacturers were aware of the risks associated with the patches but did not adequately inform consumers of the risks. If you or someone you love is currently using the Duragesic pain patch to manage a chronic pain condition, it’s important to monitor them closely in order to detect the signs of a potential overdose. If you or a loved one has suffered an overdose caused by a fentanyl pain patch, you need to speak with an experienced Duragesic pain patch attorney to determine whether you may be entitled to compensation.
Nadrich & Cohen, LLP is currently investigating Duragesic pain patch side effects claims in all 50 states. For more information on filing a pain patch lawsuit, call 1-800-718-4658 to begin your free initial case evaluation. There is never a fee unless damages are recovered on your behalf.