Have you lost a loved one due to a prescription narcotic painkiller? These powerful drugs called opioids can be highly addictive and extremely dangerous. Even worse, these powerful painkillers are often prescribed in situations for which they are simply not safe or effective.
Opioid painkillers, also known as narcotics, are medications most often prescribed for the treatment of pain from injury or surgery, or for chronic pain conditions such as back pain and headaches. Some common prescription painkillers are hydrocodone (Vicodin), oxycodone (Percocet, OxyContin), hydromorphone (Dilaudid), fentanyl (Duragesic), methadone, and morphine (MS Contin).
Although these drugs can play an important role in treating patients with pain, opioid painkillers may cause serious and potentially deadly side effects, especially if not properly prescribed. Opioids slow down the part of the brain that controls breathing. While taking these painkillers, the body’s natural impulse to breathe may be reduced or blocked. This is called “respiratory depression.” If medical treatment is not administered promptly, death can result, usually because breathing stops.
The Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning about the side effects of prescription painkillers to doctors who may prescribe these drugs. According to the FDA, overdose or other side effects may occur with numerous physician errors, including when patients are prescribed long acting opioids for short term conditions, when patients are prescribed too large a dose of opioids, and when patients are prescribed opioids with too many other respiratory depressants.
In addition to cases of overdose, patients taking prescription painkillers may also develop tolerance to these drugs which results in the patient requiring larger and larger doses to achieve the same level of pain relief. Additionally, physical dependence and addiction are common repercussions of using opioid painkillers, and once this occurs, the withdraw process can be long and difficult.
Heygood, Orr & Pearson is among the leading law firms in the country bringing claims against opioid makers and the doctors who negligently prescribe them. If you have lost a loved one, please contact our team of lawyers for a free consultation. You can reach us by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001, or by filling out the free contact form located on this page.