Fentanyl Lawsuits FAQ

What is the Duragesic skin patch?
Duragesic (fentanyl transdermal system) is a skin patch belonging to a group of medicines known as narcotic or opioid analgesics. The Duragesic patch is used to relieve around-the-clock pain (chronic pain) that is moderate to severe and is expected to last for a while. The Duragesic patch was first approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1990.

Has there been any recent news about the Duragesic skin patch?
In 2004, there was a partial recall of Duragesic. And in July 2005, the FDA announced that it would investigate reports of death and other serious side effects from overdoses of the narcotic fentanyl in patients using the Duragesic skin patch.

What are a couple of recent lawsuits involving Duragesic?
In 2003, a Utah woman used the Duragesic patch, suffered side effects and died of multiple organ failure two months later; her family filed suit on her behalf. And in 2006, a Houston jury awarded $772,500 to the family of a woman who died of an accidental overdose of fentanyl in her Duragesic patch—10 times the therapeutic dose.

How many Duragesic lawsuits have been filed?
Roughly 100 as of the summer of 2006, and more are expected in the future.

What should I know before using the Duragesic skin patch?
The Duragesic skin patch should not be the first narcotic pain medicine prescribed for you. It is also not for patients who need narcotic pain medicines for only a short time or for occasional (“as needed”) use.

Can children use Duragesic?
Children younger than 2 and children 2 or older who are not already using other narcotic pain medicines (opioid-tolerant) should not use the Duragesic patch.

Who should not use the Duragesic patch?

You should not use the Duragesic patch if you are not already using other narcotic medicines; if you need such pain medicines for only a short time; if you need pain relief from surgery, medical or dental procedures; or if you have pain that can be relieved by occasional use of other pain medicines.

Are there any serious health risks associated with Duragesic use?

Yes. You should call your doctor immediately or get emergency medical help if you have such side effects as breathing difficulty; extreme drowsiness with slowed breathing; shortness of breath; faintness, dizziness, confusion; or other unusual symptoms. These symptoms may be related to fentanyl overdose and can lead to serious problems or death if not treated quickly.

What if I stop using the Duragesic patch suddenly?
Stopping the Duragesic skin patch (or almost any medicine) suddenly can give you withdrawal symptoms. Talk to your doctor about gradually stopping Duragesic. There is a chance you could get addicted to the drugs in the Duragesic skin patch.

What side effects are associated with the Duragesic patch?
According to medical and legal documents concerning Duragesic and fentanyl, ommon side effects associated with their use include nausea, vomiting, constipation, dry mouth, sleepiness, confusion, weakness, and sweating. Although uncommon, trouble sleeping and seizures have been reported in children.

Has the Duragesic or generic fentanyl patch been recalled?
Although the Duragesic and fentanyl patches remain on the market, the manufacturers of these products has issued recall notices for several lots numbers due to manufacturing problems which could lead to a fatal overdose.

What should I tell my health care professional before he or she prescribes Duragesic?
Before you use Duragesic, tell your health care professional about all your medical problems.

Are there any interactions between Duragesic and other drugs or foods?
The Duragesic skin patch and certain other medicines can interact with each other. Tell your health care professional about all the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins and herbal supplements.

What should I do if I think I have been injured as a result of using Duragesic?
If you or a loved one have experienced any of the long-term side effects or any other harmful effects from the use of the Duragesic patch, please contact an attorney to discuss filing a Duragesic lawsuit.

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