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Hissey Kientz, LLP Warns Duragesic Patch Users About Potential Health Risks of Fentanyl Overdose
Date:12/13/2008

tches may have been cut or improperly sealed, they could cause patients or other individuals who handle the pain patch to be directly exposed to the fentanyl gel contained in its drug reservoir. Due to the high potency of fentanyl, direct exposure can lead to a fatal overdose or other serious injuries.

“Fentanyl is a very powerful drug. A number of patients have died after problems with the pain patch caused the gel inside to come in direct contact with their skin,” says attorney Michael Hissey of Hissey Kientz, LLP. “Patients who use Duragesic or generic fentanyl patches need to be aware of the health dangers that could result from the use of these products.”

In June 2005, the manufacturer of the Duragesic patch added a “black-box warning” to the product’s label to alert doctors and patients of the risk of severe and potentially deadly side effects linked to the pain patch, including “life-threatening hypoventilation” and “fatal respiratory depression.” The label also warned that patches which are cut or damaged should not be used because of the risk for fatal overdose that they pose.

The Duragesic black-box warning was updated in February 2008 to include additional information about the health risks associated with the patch. The new warning advised patients to avoid exposing the patch to external heat sources after it is placed on the skin. Because heat can increase the rate at which the medication in a transdermal patch is absorbed into the body, patients could receive an increased dose of fentanyl, which may lead to an overdose. According to the updated warning, patients who use the Duragesic or fentanyl patch should avoid heating pads, electric blankets, sunbathing, hot baths and other activities or items that crea
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