An Illinois woman, Betty J. Pellazri, died on March 8, 2009 after reportedly applying a prescribed pain patch the previous night. Her body was discovered the next morning by her boyfriend. Cause of death was determined by a coroner as an overdose of Fentanyl. Her son filed a wrongful death lawsuit on March 5 against Mylan laboratories, the maker of the patch. This death is one of an ongoing history of Fentanyl patch use.
Fentanyl is a narcotic pain medication, more potent than morphine, prescribed to individuals for chronic and severe pain. The pain relief is obtained as medication links with certain receptors in the brain blocking transference of pain signals from the spinal cord.
During manufacturing, the medication is combined with a gel and applied to the back of a patch. The gel is covered with a membrane that regulates the amount of medication that contacts and is absorbed by the skin. Defects in the membrane cause too little or too much medication to be administered. Complainants believe the manufacturing error and lack of adequate production inspection in combination with insufficient warnings contributed to the deaths of numerous patch users.
Mylan Laboratories, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, has a history of problems with the patch manufacturing process. Since the pain patch’s introduction in 1994, six recalls have taken place. Other patch manufacturers have had similar issues and complaints. In addition, product attorneys in a Maryland law office cite negligence on behalf of the manufacturers, as companies are aware of the dangers but have not resolved the problems. The attorneys also believe that in some instances, pain patches were prescribed unnecessarily and less powerful medications should have been used.
To date, four defendants appearing before courts with negligent death and wrongful lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson concerning Fentanyl patch use have been awarded damages.
Side effects of Fentanyl include dizziness, drowsiness, lightheadedness, weakness or fatigue, euphoria, difficulty breathing, difficulty urinating, decreased respirations and decreased pulse. Physicians warn against using any form of heat over the patch as this will cause an increase in the release of the medication. Avoid using alcohol with this medication.
If you or a loved one has experienced health complications, illness, or death while using Fentanyl patches, contact Newsome Law Firm and fill out a case evaluation form today. Our team of attorneys has experience specific to complications associated with prescription medication. Not only can they give you the legal guidance you need, they can help you get the compensation you deserve.