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Information about filing a Fentanyl patch lawsuit.

Opioid Malpractice Lawsuits

Many patient deaths are caused by the negligent prescription of narcotic pain medications—especially fentanyl and methadone.  Despite the risk of fatal respiratory depression posed by fentanyl and methadone, some doctors and other medical professional  prescribe these medications inappropriately for their patients.

Fentanyl and methadone can and do cause patient deaths when prescribed inappropriately,.  Common prescribing errors include:

  1. Prescribing fentanyl  or methadone (long-acting drugs) for short term pain (e.g., pain related to an injury or post-surgical pain);
  2. Prescribing fentanyl or methadone to a patient who is opioid naïve (i.e., the patient has not been recently using any opioids or had only been using small doses of opioids leading up to the Rx for fentanyl or methadone);
  3. Prescribing too large a dose in light of the opioids the patient was using leading up to the Rx for fentanyl or methadone, or increasing the dose too fast;
  4. Combining fentanyl or methadone with other drugs that suppress the central nervous system;
  5. Prescribing fentanyl or methadone for a patient who is predisposed to respiratory depression because of an underlying condition that affects the patient’s ability to breathe (e.g. obesity/sleep apnea, asthma, COPD, history of smoking, oxygen dependent); or
  6. Prescribing fentanyl or methadone for a patient who is taking other medications that inhibit the metabolism of fentanyl or methadone (e.g., ketoconazole, clarithromycin, erythromycin, fluconazole).

Mixed Drug Overdoses

Patients who are prescribed powerful opioid medications such as fentanyl or methadone in combination with other medications that suppress the central nervous system may face an increased risk of a combined or mixed drug overdose.

In 2016, the FDA warned about the risk of prescribing opioids in combination with benzodiazepines, a class of tranquilizer drugs that can decrease activity in the central nervous system. The FDA’s warning included benzodiazepine medications such as:

  • Ativan
  • Halcion
  • Klonopin
  • Librium
  • Restoril
  • Valium
  • Versed
  • Xanax

Other CNS-suppressant drugs that can increase the risk of a mixed drug overdose involving fentanyl or methadone include:

  • Anesthetic medications like Lidocaine or Propofol
  • Anti-convulsant drugs such as Mebaral or phenobarbital
  • Sleeping pills, including Ambien, Lunesta, ProSom, and Sonata
  • Other sedative medications.

A mixed drug overdose can also occur when patients are prescribed fentanyl or methadone together with other medications that inhibit the metabolism of these powerful opioids. Medications that can inhibit the metabolism of fentanyl or methadone include:

  • Antifungal drugs like fluconazole, itraconazole, ketoconazole, and posaconazole
  • Antibiotics medications, such as clarithromycin, erythromycin, quinupristin, and telithromycin
  • Drugs used to treat HIV and AIDS, such as amprenavir, atazanavir, darunavir, delavirdine, indinavir, nelfinavir, ritonavir, and saquinavir

Lawsuits Filed Over Fentanyl Mixed Drug Overdoses

Patients who are inappropriately prescribed opioids medications such as fentanyl or methadone, or who are prescribed these drugs in combination with other medications may be at risk of an overdose. In some cases, medication errors on the part of a doctor or hospital may lead to death from fentanyl toxicity, methadone toxicity, or mixed drug toxicity.

Patients whose loved ones have suffered a fatal overdose caused by the inappropriate prescription of fentanyl or methadone may qualify to take legal action against the doctor or other medical staff who prescribed the medication. The first step in taking legal action is to speak with an attorney who can guide you through the process of filing a claim.

The law firm of Heygood, Orr & Pearson has handled hundreds of fentanyl-related wrongful death lawsuits. Our attorneys have the knowledge and experienced to handle malpractice claims and other complications involving fentanyl and other powerful opioid medications.

For more information about filing a fentanyl lawsuit and to find out whether you may be eligible to file a claim, contact the lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001. You can also reach us by competing the free case evaluation form located at the top of this page and answering a few brief questions about your case to get started.