The fentanyl patch is used to relieve moderate to severe chronic pain. It is sometimes known by the brand name Duragesic®. Duragesic® and other generic fentanyl patches are powerful medication that delivers opioids into the body gradually through the skin. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a safety alert in July 2005 stressing the importance of cautiously using the fentanyl pain patch. The FDA issued another alert in December 2007 because several consumers experienced serious side effects, with some incidents resulting in death.
Exposure to uncontrolled amounts of fentanyl can lead to addiction and dependency. It can potentially be fatal. Side effects of fentanyl may be respiratory depression, hypoventilation, slow breathing, seizures, dizziness, weakness, loss of consciousness or coma, confusion, tiredness, clammy skin, and small pupils. The drug stays in the blood stream for up to 72 hours. These symptoms and problems can turn fatal when not caught early. Even if they are not fatal, Fetanyl side effects can create more medical bills. As a result, some consumers are filing Fentanyl lawsuits because of the problems they have faced with Fentanyl patches.
Fentanyl Patch Recalls
There have been several Fentanyl recalls in recent years. Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson had a recall on February 12, 2008 because of manufacturing defects. This recall affects 32 million 25 microgram-per-hour patches.
Watson Pharmaceuticals, Inc. recalled patches because of leaking fentanyl gel. These patches had expiration dates of August 31, 2009 and were 75 mph patches from lot number 92461850.
Actavis, Inc., and manufactured by Corium International Inc. announced a recall on February 17, 2008 and March 1, 2008 because of a fold-over defect that could cause leaking fentanyl gel. The Actavis Fentanyl Pain Patches affected the 25, 50, 75 and 100 mph patches with expiration dates from May 2009 to December 2009.
Accidental Exposure Fentanyl to Children
In April of 2012, the FDA issued another advisory about potential life-threatening harm from accidental exposure to fentanyl pain medication. The FDA evaluated 26 cases of pediatric accidental exposures to fentanyl patches reported over the past 15 years. Of these 26 cases, ten resulted in death and 12 in hospitalization. Sixteen of the 26 cases occurred in children two years old or younger. The FDA cautioned parents and caregivers that young children are at particular risk of accidental exposure to fentanyl patches. Children can suffer fentanyl poisoning from finding lost patches, from taking discarded patches from the trash, or finding improperly stored patches. Children can be easily poisoned from fentanyl by placing the patch on their skin or in their mouth.
The advisory further stated young children are at risk of exposure when being held by someone wearing a partially detached patch which can then transfer to the child.
A child accidentally exposed to fentanyl could be seriously injured or even die. A lethal amount of fentanyl can be accidentally given to a child even from used and discarded patches because they still contain a considerable amount of fentanyl. FDA recommends that the adhesive side of the patch should be folded together and then the patch should be flushed down the toilet.
If you or a loved one has used Fentanyl Pain Patch and have suffered from overdose or death, please call Longo Legal, PLLC toll free at (855) 566-4648 for a free no obligation consultation on your potential Fentanyl Pain Patch lawsuit.
Duragesic® is a registered trademark of Johnson & Johnson and is used here only for the purpose of identifying the product in question.