A number of Fentanyl patch manufacturers in conjunction with the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) have issued recalls of their products regarding the potential for overdose deaths among users. In addition, the FDA has issued numerous safety alerts in an attempt to notify patients and healthcare professionals that the use of Fentanyl patches has been linked to an increased risk of serious life-threatening side effects and complications.
UPDATE: Fentanyl Patch Lawsuits Centralized in MDL
August 14, 2012 — There are currently 22 fentanyl patch lawsuits pending in federal court against Watson Pharmaceuticals, and the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) has announced that these lawsuits will be centralized into one court in the Northern District of Illinois before Judge Matthew Kennelly. Click here to read more.
What is the Fentanyl Patch used for?
The Fentanyl patch is typically prescribed to individuals with moderate to severe chronic pain. Each patch contains a long-term dose of Fentanyl gel which is designed to release a steady stream of the analgesic through a rate controlled membrane. Fentanyl is an extremely strong opioid pain medication – some 80 to 100 times more powerful than morphine.
The Problem with the Fentanyl Patch
Sadly, pain patch side effects could lead to potentially fatal respiratory depression as well as a host of other extremely serious medical conditions. The FDA indicates the patch should only be used by individuals who have been shown to tolerate a daily, round-the-clock narcotic pain medication to deal with chronic pain. Those who are not opioid tolerant and only occasionally take these types of drugs could be at a high risk of experiencing adverse events with the patch.
Have the patches been recalled?
To date, at least seven different patch recalls have been issued over problems where manufacturing defects allowed Fentanyl gel to leak out of the patch and onto the skin. Some experts have questioned whether such a potent painkiller can be safely made at all. In fact, hundreds of fentanyl patch overdose deaths have been associated with different versions of the patch over the years.
How can victims file a claim?
A Fentanyl patch lawsuit allows those who have suffered adverse side effects to seek recovery for their damages including (but not limited to):
- pain and suffering
- lost income capacity
- medical bills
- loss of consortium
Additionally, such a lawsuit may help prevent future deaths and serious injury as a result of defective patches by holding manufacturers accountable for their negligent actions.