Morphine is a powerful opioid painkiller that is used to treat patients with moderate to severe pain. The drug can be administered intravenously or in pill form. Morphine is sold under several brand names, including tablets such as MS Contin or Oramorph SR and capsules such as Avinza or Kadian.
According to statistics from the Food and Drug Administration, morphine is the fourth leading cause of drug-related deaths in the U.S. While some of these deaths occur because patients are given too much of the drug, overdose deaths may also occur even when a patients receives the correct dose of the drug. Patients who suffer a morphine overdose may develop respiratory depression, which, if left untreated, may lead to respiratory arrest and death.
The FDA has issued warnings to the makers of morphine and other opioid analgesics concerning the inappropriate way that these drugs have been marketed to the public. In 2009, the FDA sent a warning letter to King Pharmaceuticals stating that the company had failed to properly alert doctors and patients of the side effects risks associated with its morphine-containing drug Embeda. This failure to warn the public could place patients at risk of a morphine overdose or other serious health consequences.
The health of patients who are prescribed morphine medications may also be placed at risk from doctors who are inexperienced at prescribing these drugs. Unlike pain specialists with experience in prescribing strong narcotic painkillers such as morphine, many doctors have not been properly trained on how to safely administer these medications to patients. When patients are given too much morphine or other opioid painkillers—or when they are treated with the drug after their pain has stopped—their health and even their lives may be put at risk.
If you or a loved one have suffered side effects from a morphine overdose or from other opioid painkiller, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit and receive compensation for your injuries. For a free legal consultation, contact the lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001, or by filling out the free contact form located on this page.