Fentanyl Patch Lawsuit, Fentanyl Pain Patch Lawsuit | Watson Pharmaceuticals Fentanyl Pain Patch Lawsuit
When Fentanyl Patches Are Prescribed
Fentanyl patches are prescribed only under very specific circumstances. This is because the fentanyl used in the patches is one of the most powerful synthetic opioids available to doctors today. It is at least a hundred times more powerful than the drug morphine. The drug is more tightly regulated than nearly any other medication in hospitals. Fentanyl patches are prescribed to people who have chronic pain because of injuries or a disease. They are prescribed only when the patient has shown resistance to other type of opioids and painkillers. Despite the strict controls, thousands of fentanyl patches are prescribed to patients every year.
How the Patches Are Supposed To Work
Fentanyl patches are attached to the skin. They deliver the opioid through the skin. The patch contains a delivery system. This system regulates the amount of fentanyl that is released. A single patch is intended to release a steady amount of Fentanyl over the course of 72 hours. Since the patches are designed for chronic pain that never stops, patients apply a new patch every three days. The result is that fentanyl levels in the blood stabilize and constantly reduce the pain that is felt. The patches must be used in a very specific way in order to function properly.
Multiple Recalls Were Issued
Fentanyl patches were first approved for use in the 1990s. Watson Pharmaceuticals emerged as the largest manufacturer of the patches although other companies like Johnson and Johnson produced generic versions for hospitals. The first recall occurred in 2008. This first recall from Watson Pharmaceuticals was because the amount of fentanyl in the patches was above normal. People using those defective patches received more of the opioid than intended. A second recall happened during the same year. This recall was because some patches were leaking after applied. The leaking circumvented the delivery system and potentially exposed patients to the risk of overdose. A third recall occurred in 2009 because fentanyl gel was leaking outside of the packages holding the patches. This could expose caretakers or others to unintentional exposure to the opioid. Despite these recalls, fentanyl patches are still in wide use today.
Injuries Caused By Defective Patches
Defective fentanyl patches can cause a number of serious problems. People who were exposed to excessively high levels of fentanyl started to suffer physical changes. The main problem is a slowing of the respiratory system. Breathing can slow down significantly. If this slowing is not detected and treated quickly, then the slow breathing can lead to death. Another possible problem resulting from a fentanyl overdose is a complete slowing of the body. This has resulted in many people falling into a coma. Some people have experienced fentanyl overdoses just because of contact with a leaking patch. Hundreds of deaths and other medical problems have occurred because of these patches.
Signs of a Fentanyl Overdose
It is important to be able to recognize some of the signs of a fentanyl overdose. One of the most obvious signs is slow and shallow breathing. The person might also have difficulty breathing normally. Another sign is if the person wearing the patch seems to be uncontrollably sleepy. This can result in a type of sedation where the person does not respond to external stimuli. Coordination will likely suffer so that the person cannot walk or manipulate items normally. A final sign is dizziness and confusion. The individual might not be able to speak or respond in a meaningful way. Anyone showing these signs while wearing a fentanyl patch should receive medical attention right away.
Lawsuits against Doctors and Manufacturers
Many lawsuits appeared after the first recall. These lawsuits are still being filed today by victims and by people who lost loved ones to a fentanyl overdose. The lawsuits mainly focus on the fact that some of the patches were unable to deliver the right amount of fentanyl while being worn. There are allegations that the manufacturing process was flawed and not repaired quickly enough by Watson Pharmaceuticals. Some cases revolve around the idea that the true risks of using fentanyl patches were not revealed to patients or doctors. There are lawsuits against various other manufactures of the patches claiming that negligence lead to the defects and the distribution of defective patches. There are many outstanding lawsuits and class action suits against the manufactures of fentanyl patches. Some lawsuits were filed against doctors for prescribing the patches for off-label purposes.