Fentanyl: A Potentially Fatal Pain Treatment
On August 10, 2009, Watson Pharmaceuticals announced a recall of one lot
of 100 mcg fentanyl patches because gel can leak out onto the skin. Even
a small amount of fentanyl coming into contact with the skin can result
in an overdose with serious side effects such as breathing difficulties,
loss of consciousness, dizziness, confusion, and inability to walk, talk
or think normally or even death.
The drug, which is best known under the brand name Duragesic, is a powerful
narcotic gel used primarily to alleviate chronic severe pain. Fentanyl
is contained in patches manufactured and/or sold by Johnson & Johnson,
Pricara, Janssen, ALZA, Watson Pharmaceuticals, Mylan (generic), Activis,
After at least 120 reported deaths were linked to an overdose delivered
from patches, in 2005 the Food and Drug Administration warned the public
and medical professionals about its risks. Because the FDA continued to
receive information about serious side effects and deaths attributed to
the drug, it issued another alert in 2007. However, the drug still remains
on the market.
While we don’t know the total number of fentanyl lawsuits filed or
the number of confidential settlements, three recent jury verdicts have
all been delivered in favor of the plaintiffs:
- A jury in Florida awarded $13.3 million to the family of a 34-year-old
woman who died of a fentanyl overdose after back surgery.
- Another Florida jury handed down a $5.5 million verdict in favor of the
family of a 28-year-old man who died while using the patch.
- A Chicago jury found Johnson & Johnson liable in the death of an Illinois
woman and returned a verdict of $16.5 million in favor of the woman’s family.
If you take fentanyl, it is extremely important that you strictly follow
the doctor’s instructions and observe all of the warnings on the label.
If you or someone you know has been taking Fentanyl and injured,
contact us for your free consultation.