An unfortunate trend in pain management has been for physicians to prescribe a drug called Fentanyl when there are safer alternatives. Fentanyl is a potent narcotic drug about 80 to 100 times stronger than morphine. Traditionally, doctors will prescribe it to treat serious or chronic pain in patients experiencing severe illness. An unintentional side effect is it can slow down a person’s system quickly, including his or her heartbeat. With strong dosages, people can experience dizziness, weak muscles, confusion, pinpoint pupils, extreme lethargy, fainting, low blood pressure, bluish tint to nails and lips, and dangerously slowed (or even stopped) breathing. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved the medication for acute postoperative pain in patients for exactly this reason.
However, some doctors have been prescribing it for broken bones or acid reflux following a surgical procedure. Because of this negligent prescription, people tend to overdose and die from taking the medication.
Part of the danger is physicians sometimes ignore preexisting opioid tolerance. The FDA mandated a patient is only eligible for a Fentanyl prescription if he or she has been taking a particular dose of morphine for at least a week before taking Fentanyl. This is because those who take the drug without having a certain tolerance for opiates can negatively affect a person’s health. Likewise, the drug must be prescribed in a reasonable dose, though doctors have been prescribing too potent an amount. Such a high dosage can kill a person after just one dose.
Another danger lies in the other medications a patient may be taking concurrently. If someone is taking another type of depressant, tranquilizer, or sedative, it can prevent the lungs from fully expanding, which doesn’t allow the body enough oxygen for all the tissue in the body. Other patients have medical histories showing pulmonary issues, and their chance of experiencing respiratory depression increase after taking Fentanyl.
The FDA has regulations in place to protect people from adverse prescription reactions. When doctors ignore these rules, the result can lead to dangerous consequences. If you or a loved one were prescribed a prescription medication that led to a severe reaction, make sure the physician who prescribed it is held accountable. Talk to one of our skilled Corpus Christi personal injury lawyers at Gowan Elizondo LLP for a free case consultation. Let us use our years of legal experience to help you seek compensation for your medical bills, rehabilitation costs, and lost wages.
Contact us at (866) 833-0088 or fill out our online form to schedule your consultation today.