The fentanyl pain patch is an extremely powerful opioid painkiller that is most often prescribed in the form of a skin patch that is worn for 3 days at a time. Fentanyl patches are sold under the brand name Duragesic, as a lollipop known as Actiq, or as a pill known as Fentora. The fentanyl patch is also sold by several generic drug companies, including Watson, Mylan and Sandoz.
Because fentanyl is about 100 times more potent than morphine, the Food and Drug Administration has only approved the drug for the treatment of patients with long term, chronic pain that is moderate or severe in intensity such as that experienced by cancer patients. They are intended to be reserved for patients that have not responded to less potent pain medications.
When fentanyl is prescribed to patients who do not fall into one of these categories, they may suffer an overdose and fall into respiratory depression. If left untreated, the patient may suffer respiratory arrest and die.
Fentanyl overdoses can also be caused by direct contact with the gel that is contained inside fentanyl patches that utilize a reservoir design (e.g., Watson). Fentanyl and Duragesic pain patches have been recalled at least six times in recent years due to manufacturing defects that could expose patients to a risk of overdose.
If you or a loved one suffered an overdose caused by a fentanyl pain patch or other opioid painkillers, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit. For a free legal consultation from a lawyer, contact the law firm of Heygood, Orr & Pearson by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001, or by filling out our free case evaluation form located on this page.