This article briefly outlines one perspectiveon when medical professionals including doctors/physicians should consider prescribing Fentanyl or Duragesic pain patches to their patients. This article is authored by a personal injury trial attorney who is currently involved in Fentanyl/Duragesic pain patch cases, and has also researched and authored previous articles on this topic. If you are a medical professional you are mindful of legal liability issues, and must stay up to date on contra-indications and proper indicators for the prescription of these powerful Fentanyl pain patches and I think this article will be relevant to you. Here are my views:
1. The first thought should be: Do not prescribe a Fentanyl or Duragesic pain patch at all. Of course, this medication is 80 to 100 times more powerful than morphine, drop for drop, and your chances of any possibility of your patient overdosing and dying from a medication you prescribed decreases considerably if you simply do not prescribe a Fentanyl/Duragesic pain patch of any particular dosage because of the high rate of accidental overdoses and accidental deaths that have been increasingly tied to this medication.
2. As I have previously written, the FDA has issued a series of warnings and cautions to consider before the prescription of Fentanyl or Duragesic pain patches should be made and they are only proper for chronic pain patients that cannot be managed by any other suitable medication. The problem here is that there is a virtual epidemic of accidental overdoses nationwide of Fentanyl and Duragesic pain patches and, wrongful death actions have been filed nationwide against the manufacturers, including Johnson and Johnson, Mylan, and the other generic manufacturers of the pain patches. The allegations include unintended leakage from the pain patches, by those using heat pads or other possible unusual uses causing a sudden discharge of too much medication, or, what seems to be the most common, is that the patient does not understand the toxicity pain patch and places a second patch on the skin while the first patch has not discharged all of the transdermal medication, unbeknownst to the patient.
3. Who are the proper patients? – The only proper patient for these types of pain patches are chronic pain patients that cannot be managed by any other medication that has less accidental wrongful death associated with the medication. This Fentanyl and Duragesic pain medication was originally intended for cancer patients, for those patients with unfortunate terminal diseases that have incredible pain, and is not intended for persons that are suffering chronic pain that may be manageable by other medications. However, aggressive sales tactics by sales representatives with the various companies producing the Fentanyl/Duragesic pain patches has resulted in an incredible increase in the prescription of these pain patches. When the pain patches work well, the patient of course does not experience pain. This is good. However, the potential for unintended, accidental death with these pain patches is a very real and present danger and a medical professional should stay away from any prescription of such a drug based on the hypocratic oath, the basic tenet learned in medical school that above all "do no harm."
Here’s a video discussing Fentanyl/Duragesic pain patches being misprescribed by doctors and nurses…
Please review any of the prior articles that are mentioned as links in this article for further detail on the dangers of Fentanyl/Duragesic pain patches. Hopefully, as the mounting accidental deaths continue to increase, the FDA will take further action restricting the prescription of Fentanyl/Duragesic pain patches.
About the Editors: Shapiro, Cooper, Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm (VA-NC law offices ) edits the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard, and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as a pro bono service to consumers.