On behalf of James McKowen of James F. Humphreys & Associates, L.C. posted in Dangerous or defective drugs on Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Pain management can be a tricky business. Many health care professionals regard pain as a symptom of another problem. In other words, pain should not exist in the absence of a disease or injury. However, the experience of many patients in West Virginia and across the country tells a different story. For them, living with pain is a daily burden for which there seems to be no explanation.
Western medicine does not fully understand the neurological basis of pain, or why pain signals are triggered in some patients. In other cases, a physiological cause of the pain may be present, but an individual may have developed a tolerance to the medication.
When other pain medications have proven unsuccessful, a health care professional might recommend a fentanyl skin patch for relief. Fentanyl works by changing the way the brain and nervous system identify or associate pain responses. Some describe the drug as 80 times more powerful than morphine. However, as with many powerful drugs, there are associated risks.
As a preliminary matter, fentanyl is a narcotic drug. That may explain why the man in today’s story apparently attempted to get high by smoking a fentanyl patch that had been prescribed to his girlfriend for back pain relief.
Yet since the drug is physically applied using a transdermal patch, it’s possible that the incorrect dosage might be administered. For example, defects in the patch could expose too much or too little of a patient’s skin to the drug. In such event, withdrawal or overdose could be very real outcomes. In fact, around 1,000 people die each year from using fentanyl in possibly inappropriate ways, according to an estimate from the Centers for Disease Control. For anyone injured by this drug, a consultation with an experienced defective drug attorney may provide insight into legal avenues of recovery.