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Prescription painkillers top FDA reports of drug deaths

An analysis of reports from the Food and Drug Administration has found that prescription painkillers are the most common cause of drug-related deaths. According to the FDA, opioid painkillers represented four of the six most deadly drugs, including the top two spots.

The FDA’s “Adverse Event Reporting System” is the world’s largest database of voluntary, spontaneous reports of adverse drug reactions and medication errors. An analysis of all serious adverse drug events and medication errors in the United States that were reported to the FDA from 1998 through 2005 found that, when it comes to drugs suspected in death outcomes, opioids dominate the “top” of the chart.

Drug Name Rank Deaths Drug Class
Oxycodone 1 5548 Opioid analgesic
Fentanyl 2 3545 Opioid analgesic
Clozapine 3 3277 Antipsychotic
Morphine 4 1616 Opioid analgesic
Acetaminophen 5 1393 Analgesic
Methadone 6 1258 Opioid analgesic

In many cases, these painkiller deaths were caused by doctors and hospitals who improperly prescribed these drug to patients, putting them at risk of overdose and other side effects. If you have lost a loved one from a painkiller overdose even though they were using the medication as directed, the painkiller may have been inappropriately prescribed. Please contact Heygood, Orr & Pearson for a free consultation to determine whether your loved one may have been the victim of careless prescribing on the part of their physician. You can reach us by calling our toll-free hotline at 1-877-446-9001, or by filling out the free contact form on this page.