Patients who are improperly prescribed the fentanyl pain patch by a doctor or hospital are at risk of serious and potential fatal complications. Physicians who prescribe fentanyl to patients that should not be treated with the pain patch—or who prescribe the drug in situations where there is a higher risk of side effects—may be held liable for the injuries caused by their negligence.
Fentanyl is an opioid painkiller that is 80 to 100 times more potent than morphine. The drug is usually prescribed in the form of a transdermal patch that is worn on the skin by the patient. In addition to generic versions of the pain patch, fentanyl is also prescribed under the brand name Duragesic, as a lollipop known as Actiq, tablets sold as Fentora, and a nasal spray known as Lazanda.
Because of the extreme potency of fentanyl, the drug should only be prescribed to patients with long term, chronic pain, such as cancer patients, who have already been treated with opioid painkillers. Care must be taken when switching a patient to fentanyl from another opioid to ensure that they do not receive an excessive dose of the drug. Fentanyl should not be prescribed to patients with certain pre-existing conditions, as well as those who are taking other medications that could produce fatal complications due to a drug interaction. When fentanyl is prescribed with too many other medications that depress the central nervous system, it can lead to a combined drug overdose.
When individuals with short term pain, those who are not opioid tolerant, or those taking certain other medications are prescribed fentanyl, the doctors who prescribed the pain patch are putting the lives of their patients in jeopardy. In addition to the risk of respiratory depression from improper fentanyl prescriptions, patients may also be at risk of developing a tolerance for the drug or of addiction.
Families of patient who have died from respiratory depression caused by a fentanyl overdose or a combined drug overdose that includes fentanyl may be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the doctors who prescribed the fentanyl and, in some cases, the pharmacy who filled the prescription. Patients who were improperly prescribed fentanyl by their doctor and sustained brain damage may be eligible to file a medical malpractice lawsuit and seek compensations for their injuries.
The lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson have handled hundreds of lawsuits involving patients who were injured by fentanyl—including numerous cases involving medical malpractice and wrongful death. Our attorneys have the knowledge and experience at handling fentanyl cases to ensure that your legal rights are protected to the fullest extent of the law.
If you or a loved one was prescribed fentanyl by a doctor or hospital and suffered a fentanyl overdose or combined drug overdose, contact Heygood, Orr & Pearson to find out if you may be eligible to file a case. You can reach us by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001, or by filling out some brief information on the free case evaluation form located at the top of this page.