Prescription painkiller drugs such as fentanyl, methadone, hydrocodone, and oxycodone have been linked to thousands of overdose deaths in the U.S. Although many assume these drugs are safe because they are prescribed by a doctor, studies have shown that opioid painkillers can be extremely deadly—even when used correctly by patients.
The first study to examine the risk of prescription painkiller overdoses found that all patients were at risk of overdose from these drugs, even when using the proper amount as directed by their doctor. The authors of the study wrote that while some overdoses occur when patients engage in prescription painkiller abuse, “many [overdoses] occur when patients take the opioids as prescribed.”
One of the common trends that emerged from this research is the role of physician error in beginning new patients on opioid treatment and also in converting patients from one prescription painkiller to another. Errors in prescribing opioids with other sedating medications were also found.
Patients who have suffered an opioid painkiller overdose (or their close family members) may be eligible to file a lawsuit against the doctor or hospital who was responsible for their injuries. Physicians frequently think that if a drug is approved by the Food and Drug Administration, it must be safe and will not harm their patient.
These doctors often don’t even bother to read the full prescribing information issued by the drug maker and approved by the FDA. Many physicians are completely uninformed when it comes to the major contraindications, risks and prescribing standards for the drugs they prescribe.
Heygood, Orr & Pearson is among the leaders in the country in representing victims of opioid painkiller overdose. If you have lost a loved one after they were prescribed painkilling drugs by a doctor, call us for a free legal consultation. You can reach our attorneys by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001, or by filling out the free case evaluation form located on this page.