Although fentanyl is classified as a schedule II drug under the Controlled Substances Act, it is a medication that is still frequently used to treat post-operative and break-through pain. This painkiller is one of the most powerful narcotic pain medications. It is often administered in a patch, to allow patients to receive a constant delivery of medication to help them manage their pain.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the fentanyl pain patch in 1990 as a way to treat patients with persistent, moderate-to-severe pain who have become opioid-tolerant, which means that they have been using another strong opioid narcotic pain medicine regularly for at least a week. It is generally used to control doses of narcotic pain medication through the skin over a certain period of time, such as 24 to 72 hours. This pain patch is significantly more potent than other pain medications, including morphine. It basically works by blocking pain receptors found in the brain.
Fentanyl pain patches have caused many problems for patients. There have been instances of the fentanyl gel leaking out at an uncontrolled rate, leading to overdose. Years ago, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration began receiving reports of life threatening side effects linked to the fentanyl pain patch. In July 2005, the FDA issued a warning to the public and then followed up with another warning in December 2007.
When the FDA issued its warning in 2007, it gave some signs of fentanyl overdose that consumers should watch for. These warning signs include:
- Trouble breathing, or slow or shallow breathing
- Slow heartbeat
- Severe sleepiness
- Cold, clammy skin
- Trouble walking or talking
Fentanyl overdose is serious and can lead to death. If you or a loved one has suffered after using the fentanyl pain patch, you may be able to pursue compensation. For more information, contact an experienced Florida fentanyl pain patch lawyer at the Law Offices of Lilly, O’Toole & Brown at (863) 533-5525.