Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is the strongest pain medication on the prescription market today – about 80-100 times more potent than morphine. Because of its extreme potency, fentanyl is only approved by the FDA for patients with severe pain (such as cancer patients) and patients who are opioid tolerant.
After fentanyl was originally approved by the FDA for use outside a hospital setting, the drug was available by prescription in the form of a transdermal patch applied to the skin. These patches were sold under the brand name Duragesic, or, later, in generic formulations.
Since that time, fentanyl has been made available in prescription form in a wide variety of new formulations. These newer fentanyl products include the fentanyl lollipop (Actiq), the fentanyl sublingual spray (Subsys), fentanyl tablets (Abstral), and the fentanyl nasal spray (Lazanda).
Because of its extreme potency, even a small overdose of fentanyl can be lethal. Once an overdose of fentanyl occurs, a person will begin to experience impaired breathing and respiratory depression, which, if not treated immediately, leads to death.
Signs of an overdose from a fentanyl often include:
- Difficulty in breathing
- Shallow breathing
- Extreme sleepiness/sedation
- Inability to walk or talk normally
- Faint, dizzy or confused feelings
Despite the extreme potency of fentanyl, many patients who are not suffering from severe pain or who are not opioid tolerant are prescribed this medication by a doctor in violation of FDA guidelines. When opioid naïve patients are prescribed fentanyl products for post-surgical pain, backaches, or other routine ailments that could be treated without opioids, the doctor or other medical staff who prescribed fentanyl could be placing them at risk of suffering severe and potentially deadly side effects from this drug.
Fentanyl overdoses can also occur when the drug is prescribed in combination with other drugs that suppress the central nervous system, including anti-anxiety medications known as benzodiazepines, sleeping pills, cough medications, tranquilizers, antipsychotic drugs, and muscle relaxers. When patients use fentanyl in combination with other CNS-depressant medications, the effects of these drugs are multiplied, drastically increasing the risk of a fatal overdose.
Fentanyl Lawsuits Filed By Heygood, Orr & Pearson
Our law firm has filed hundreds of lawsuits on behalf of our clients and obtained hundreds of millions of dollars in damages in cases involving fentanyl. In fact, the attorneys at Heygood, Orr & Pearson have represented more families who have lost a loved one from defective fentanyl patch and tried more lawsuits against the manufacturers of defective pain patches than all other lawyers in the U.S. combined.
The attorneys at Heygood, Orr & Pearson have examined under oath hundreds of drug company executives, scientists, engineers, physicians and manufacturing workers. Heygood, Orr & Pearson has also retained the best expert witnesses in the country in the areas of toxicology, pathology, pharmaceutical manufacturing and patch technology.
In addition, Heygood, Orr & Pearson has obtained millions of pages of documents from the drug companies related to fentanyl, which have been reviewed, analyzed and cataloged In doing so, Heygood, Orr & Pearson has amassed by far the most extensive library and collection of documents and depositions related to fentanyl in existence. In many ways, the documents and depositions in the Heygood, Orr & Pearson fentanyl library is more extensive than any in the possession of the pharmaceutical companies.
Help for families who lost a loved one to a fentanyl overdose
Heygood, Orr & Pearson is the leading law firm in the United States representing family members in lawsuits against fentanyl patch manufacturers and distributors. Our law firm has settled more cases against the manufacturers of defective patches than all other lawyers throughout the United States.
In addition to the hundreds of lawsuits that have been filed against manufactures of the fentanyl pain patch and other fentanyl products, claims have also been filed against other individuals or institutions whose actions have led to deadly overdoses caused by this drug. Wrongful death claims have also been filed against doctors or medical staff members who wrongfully prescribe fentanyl to patients, as well as pharmacies and distributors who supplied patients with the drug.
If you or a loved one has experienced the tragedy of losing a family member as a result of Fentanyl pain patch usage, you and your family deserve answers to your questions, and if the loss was as a result of a defective Fentanyl patch, to demand that the drug company be held responsible.
Contact the lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson so we can determine whether you are eligible to file a fentanyl lawsuit and receive compensation for your injuries. For more information about whether you are eligible to file a case, call our toll-free hotline at 1-877-446-9001, or by filling out the free fentanyl case evaluation form located on this page.