Dozens of painkiller lawsuits are filed each year by patients who have suffered an overdose or other potentially deadly side effects from narcotic opioids. Despite warnings from the Food and Drug Administration about the dangers of opioid painkillers, drug companies continue to market and doctors continue to prescribe these drugs without fully weighing the health risks they may pose to patients.
Opioids painkillers can kill. Opioids are CNS depressant drugs, which means that they slow down the part of the brain that controls breathing. When patients are given an excessive dose of painkillers, they may suffer an overdose and lapse into respiratory depression. Death can result, usually because breathing stops. You can even die from an opioid overdose even if you take the medication as prescribed.
People who use opioids regularly soon develop tolerance to the effects. As a result, they need to use more and more of the same drug to achieve the desired effect. As the amount taken increases, so does the risk of overdose and other harmful side effects. If people with tolerance stop taking the drug, they lose their tolerance. If they then resume taking the same amount they took before they stopped, there is an extreme risk of overdose.
The health risks of painkiller use extend beyond the risk of overdose. For every unintentional overdose death related to opioid pain killers, 9 people are admitted for substance abuse treatment and 161 report drug abuse or addiction. Patients that do develop physical dependence to opioids commonly experience serious withdrawal symptoms when they attempt to stop taking them.
The use of prescription painkillers during pregnancy has been linked to an increased risk of birth defects in newborns. Studies have found that the newborns of mothers who take opioid analgesics in the month before and during the early months of pregnancy had a significantly increased risk of congenital heart defects, spina bifida, and other conditions.
When doctors prescribe opioid painkillers at excessive doses, they place their patients at an increased risk of overdose, respiratory depression, and death. Drug companies who promote narcotic painkillers to treat conditions for which they were not approved by the Food and Drug Administration may also be putting the lives and health of patients at risk.
If you or a loved one suffered an overdose or other complications from opioid painkillers, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit against the manufacturers of these drugs or the doctor who may have negligently prescribed the medication.
The lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson are the leading law firm in the country at handing opioid painkiller litigation involving drugs such the fentanyl pain patch (Duragesic), hydrocodone (Vicodin), oxycodone (OxyContin), morphine, methadone, and other potentially lethal narcotics.
For a free legal consultation, call us toll-free at 1-877-336-9001. You can also contact us by filling out the free case evaluation form on this page, and one of our representatives will be in contact with you as soon as possible.