The Dangers of Fentanyl
Fentanyl is a potent narcotic pain killer. Fentanyl is used to treat chronic pain and is commonly used before surgery. Fentanyl is most often sold as a transdermal patch, commonly called a Durogesic or Duragesic patch. Fentanyl patches were introduced into the market in the 1990s, and Fentanyl is now the most commonly prescribed synthetic opioid.
Fentanyl also poses a number of severe risks. Fentanyl side effects can include sudden respiratory depression, aphasia, and even death. Hundreds of people who have been prescribed Fentanyl have accidentally overdosed, and over 120 people have died while taking prescribed Fentanyl. If the number of people who have died while illegally abusing Fentanyl is taken into account, Fentanyl has killed over 1,000 people.
Fentanyl patches have a troubling manufacturing history, and there have been a number of recalls of defective Fentanyl patches over the years. These defective Fentanyl patches would leak, releasing Fentanyl into the body irregularly or too rapidly, resulting in an overdose that can cause life-threatening side effects and even death.
How Dangerous is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is a Class 2 narcotic, the strongest class of narcotic allowed to be prescribed under federal regulations. Fentanyl is approximately 100 times more potent than morphine, and Fentanyl can be highly addictive.
Fentanyl in the News
- Wilco Performer Died of Painkiller Overdose, Coroner Says
- Johnson & Johnson Told to Pay Damages in Pain-Patch Death
- Jury Awards $16.6 Million
- J&J Units Ordered to Pay $5.5 Million in Patch Case
- J&J Units Must Pay $16.6 Million for Pain-Patch Death
- J&J Settles Pain-Patch Death Case for $2.5 Million
- F.D.A. to Place New Limits on Prescriptions of Narcotics
- Woman Sues Mylan for Defective Fentanyl patches
Fentanyl is dangerous enough to have been used as a murder weapon. Fentanyl abuse is a growing problem nationwide. Fentanyl is often sold illegally, and Fentanyl abusers will smoke or chew the patches to get high. Illegal Fentanyl use has been responsible for over 1,000 deaths in the United States.
The legal use of Fentanyl can also be extremely dangerous, and legally prescribed Fentanyl patches have caused a significant number of injuries and deaths.
- In 2005, the government issued a warning about the risk of overdose from Fentanyl patches, after the FDA had received reports of serious Fentanyl side effects and 120 Fentanyl-related deaths.
- In 2009, Jay Bennett, the former guitarist for the alternative rock band Wilco, died in his sleep while wearing a Fentanyl patch. Bennett had been prescribed Fentanyl because of chronic hip pain.
- In 2010, an advisory panel to the FDA rejected a proposal for increased oversight and regulation of Fentanyl, saying that the regulations did not go far enough. The doctors on the panel said they did not think the regulations were strong enough to control the use of Fentanyl and other prescription narcotics.
Fentanyl Side Effects
Fentanyl can produce a number of unpleasant side effects. Fentanyl side effects include diarrhea, nausea, constipation, abdominal pain, headache, fatigue, depression, and flu-like symptoms. The Fentanyl patch also has the potential to produce other severe, life threatening, and even lethal side effects, including:
- Sudden respiratory depression – Fentanyl has been known to cause respiratory depression, or hypoventilation, which occurs when the lungs malfunction and are unable to breathe rapidly enough to process the amount of oxygen the body needs, causing a dangerous amount of carbon dioxide to collect in the body. Respiratory depression can be life threatening.
- Aphasia – Aphasia is a rare and mystifying brain disorder where sufferers may lose part of all of their ability to understand or process language, such as losing the ability to speak or write. There have been a small number of reported cases of patients developing aphasia after taking Fentanyl.
- Death - Over 120 deaths have been reported in Fentanyl patients, prompting the FDA to issue a warning about the risks of Fentanyl.
Fentanyl Patch Recalls
Fentanyl pain patches have been recalled by manufacturers a number of times since 1994. Defective Fentanyl patches have been recalled because of manufacturing errors that cause the patches to leak, leading to a possible dangerous overdose.
- In February 2004, Janssen Pharmaceutical Products recalled a batch of its Duragesic Fentanyl patches and then recalled a second batch of Fentanyl patches in April.
- In February 2008, Johnson & Johnson recalled defective Fentanyl patches that could cause patients to overdose.
- Also in February 2008, PriCara recalled multiple batches of its Fentanyl pain patches.
- Yet another Fentanyl recall in February of 2008 occurred when Advantis recalled 14 lots of its Fentanyl pain patches.
- In August 2009, Watson Pharmaceuticals announced that it had recalled a lot of its Fentanyl pain patches.
- Advantis recalled eighteen lots of Fentanyl patches on October 21, 2010 citing manufacturing defects and a fear that the patches would release the chemical too quickly.
Many individuals and families who have been harmed by Fentanyl are seeking compensation for their injuries. If you or a family member has been harmed or killed by Fentanyl, the law firm of Blizzard & Nabers will work with you to file a Fentanyl lawsuit. For more than 25 years, our attorneys have successfully represented our clients and stood up for the rights of people harmed by pharmaceutical companies and dangerous drugs. We are a nationwide law firm serving clients from all over the country. We handle all Fentanyl-related injury cases on a contingency basis.
To learn more, or for a free case review from an experienced Fentanyl attorney, please contact us by email or call us at 1-800-349-0127.