As the most potent pain medication in the prescription drugs marketplace, fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, is 100 times more powerful than morphine. Due to its powerful ability to kill pain, the opioid is routinely used, among other drugs, for inducing anesthesia prior to surgery.
It was in 1960 when Dr. Paul Janssen synthesized fentanyl for the first time. Since that time, the powerful drug has been available on the market as a prescription in various forms. These forms include the fentanyl pain patch (Duragesic), the fentanyl sublingual spray (Subsys), and fentanyl lollipop (Actiq).
The fentanyl patch history and use
Similar to the commonly advertised Nicoderm, the Fentanyl drug patch first gained approval by the FDA in 1990. Their approvals were restricted to the treatment of chronic, persistent pain that does not mitigate through the use of less powerful pain medications. In order to qualify for Fentanyl patch therapy, the patient must possess a safe tolerance to opioids.
The patch is prescribed to be worn for three days. During this time fentanyl from the patch is released in a constant and uniform quantity into the system.
The FDA has issued a warning that a fatal overdose of fentanyl is possible when a child applies a patch to the skin or mouth, bringing about elevated levels of carbon dioxide in the blood and slow breathing.
Subsys and accompanying legal troubles
Subsys is taken by a different method than the fentanyl patch. As a fentanyl opioid spray, it is applied directly under the tongue. Through this method, the powerful medication is absorbed immediately into the system, providing almost instant relief from severe pain.
Subsys is manufactured by Insys Therapeutics. Many injuries have been reported from families across the nation due to the use of this drug. Insys itself is accused of acquiring $3 billion for its investors through a complicated scheme of bribery and kickbacks. Many employees of the company, including half a dozen of its top executives, past sales representatives, and physicians have been charged with racketeering, and either convicted or offered a guilty plea for their participation in these schemes.
Fentanyl side effects and injuries
A fentanyl overdose can be fatal. One of the dangers of overdose occurs when a fentanyl patch has a defect, allowing the patch to leak and disperse an unintended or uncontrolled quantity of the opioid to the patient – this scenario results in almost certain death. Dangerous and sometimes fatal side effects can occur when fentanyl comes into direct contact with the skin, which can sometimes occur as a result of a leaky patch.
Upon overdose, the immediate symptoms involve inhibited breathing and respiratory depression. Death is likely to occur if treatment is not provided immediately. Some of the signs that accompany an overdose of fentanyl from a defective patch, or through some other method include:
- Trouble breathing
- Shallow breathing
- Confused, dizzy, faint feelings
- Inability to talk or walk in a normal manner
- Excessive sleepiness or sedation
One of the most consequential legal battles in the pharmaceutical industry raging today is against Insys Therapeutics – the company that manufactures the potent fentanyl spray Subsys. The company is facing massive litigation due to its extensive drug promotion strategy that led to the addiction of many individuals to the opioid who were not the original intended recipients of the drug. Lives were lost as a result.
If you or a loved one has suffered injury or the loss of a family member due to the use of Subsys, the fentanyl pain patch, or another dangerous drug, you deserve answers, justice, and compensation for your losses. McGowan, Hood & Felder, LLC is currently accepting new cases. Let’s start the process together with a free consultation to discuss your situation. Call us today toll-free at 803-327-7800 or simply fill out our contact form.