Methadone is an opioid painkiller that is prescribed to patients with moderate to severe pain that cannot be successfully treated with non-narcotic pain relievers. Methadone can be prescribed in the form of a pill (Dolophine), a dissolvable tablet, or in liquid form.
Patients who are prescribed methadone for pain management may be at risk of suffering an overdose or other serious side effects from the drug—even when it is taken as directed by the prescribing physician. When patients are prescribed too much methadone, they may lapse into respiratory depression, which can lead to respiratory arrest and death.
More than 15,500 people die every year of prescription painkiller overdoses, and nearly one-third of those overdoses involve the drug methadone, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Researchers have found that while methadone accounts for only 2% of painkiller prescriptions in the United States, it is involved in more than 30% of prescription painkiller overdose deaths.
This same report found that methadone has been used for decades to treat drug addiction, but in recent years it has been increasingly prescribed to relieve pain. As methadone prescriptions for pain have increased, so have methadone-related fatal overdoses. Results from the CDC have found that six times as many patients died of a methadone overdose in 2009 as had done so a decade before.
If you or a loved one suffered an overdose or other side effects after being prescribed methadone or another opioid painkiller, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit. For a free legal consultation from an attorney, contact the law firm of Heygood, Orr & Pearson by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001, or by filling out the free case evaluation form located on the left of this page.