Doctors who improperly prescribe the fentanyl patch are putting their patients at risk of serious and potentially deadly side effects. Despite warnings from the Food and Drug Administration, many doctors continue to prescribe fentanyl products at excessive doses or to patients who should not be taking the drug, putting their health—and even their lives—at risk.
Improper fentanyl prescriptions can occur due to a number of reasons. Some doctors prescribe fentanyl to patients who should not be taking the drug, including patients who are not opioid tolerant, patients with acute or post-operative pain, or patients with pulmonary problems. In other cases, doctors prescribe fentanyl at excessive doses or to patients who are taking medications which can interact with fentanyl, placing them at risk of an overdose. A combined drug overdose may occur when fentanyl is prescribed with too many other medications which depress the central nervous system.
One of the most serious side effects of fentanyl overdoses is respiratory depression. When patients are treated with opioid painkillers such as fentanyl or other drugs that depress the central nervous system, the body’s natural impulse to breathe may be reduced or blocked by these drugs. This is known as respiratory depression. Unless treated immediately, patients who develop respiratory depression after taking fentanyl can stop breathing and die.
Even if respiratory depression caused by a fentanyl overdose is not fatal, patients may still be left with permanent, catastrophic injuries caused by the pain patch. Patients who experience respiratory depression or respiratory arrest caused by a fentanyl overdose may be left with permanent brain injuries caused by oxygen deprivation while their breathing was affected by fentanyl.
Patients who are treated with fentanyl for too long by their doctor, or who are given excessive doses of the drug, can develop a tolerance which can cause them to use more fentanyl than was prescribed, increasing the risk of an overdose. These patients may also develop a dependency or become addicted to fentanyl if they are not properly treated by their doctor.
Doctors who prescribe fentanyl have a responsibility to ensure that the drugs are administered in a manner that will not place their patients at a risk of respiratory depression or other symptoms of a fentanyl overdose. When the failure of physicians to properly prescribe the fentanyl pain patch leads to catastrophic injuries or death, we believe that they should be held accountable in a court of law.
The lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson have handled hundreds of cases involving patients who were injured by the fentanyl patch, achieving numerous verdicts and settlements on behalf of our clients. Our years of experience handling fentanyl cases gives us the knowledge and experience to ensure that the legal rights of you or your loved one will be fully protected.
For more information about filing a fentanyl claim and to receive a free consultation about your case, contact Heygood, Orr & Pearson by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001, or by filling out the free case evaluation form located at the top of this page.