Duragesic fentanyl skin patch dangers still underestimated

Harvey Kirk

By Harvey Kirk
Posted August 28, 2007


According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, the degree of danger associated with the Duragesic fentanyl skin patch is still not fully appreciated by healthcare providers and deaths continue to occur at an alarming rate as a result of sudden fentanyl overdose for unsuspecting users.

>>INFORMATION: Duragesic fentanyl skin patch overdose

Duragesic is the brand name for fentanyl patches which deliver a narcotic opiate painkiller through the skin.  A membrane on the sticky side of the patch is designed to regulate the delivery of medication.  However,  hundreds of deaths have been caused by fentanyl overdose when the medication leaked out of the patch or was absorbed through the skin too quickly.

Johnson & Johnson, the manufacturer of the Duragesic patch, continues to provide inadequate warnings and insufficient safety information about the degree of risk associated with their fentanyl skin patch.  Despite reports of numerous deaths each year, over 4.7 million prescriptions were written in 2006, a 10% increase over 2005.

The use of a skin patch to deliver medication has become increasingly more common, with current medications available for pain management, birth control and attention deficit disorder.  However, the delivery system is not perfect and all forms of drug patches have been linked to problems when the medication is absorbed through the skin too quick or too slow.

According to the L.A. Times, the amount of drug which is administered may vary from one person to another, with some people getting too much of the medication and others getting too little.  The conditions under which the patch is used and differing skin thickness could impact the speed of absorption, making it difficult for doctors to prescribe the right dose.

The Ortho-Evra birth control patch, which is also manufactured by Johnson & Johnson, has been linked to an increased risk of potentially fatal blood clots.  The birth control patch delivers a constant exposure to estrogen, which could cause the woman to receive 60% more estrogen than is delivered by a birth control pill.


The lawyers at Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. are investigating potential Duragesic skin patch lawsuits as well as Ortho-Evra lawsuits.  For more information, or to find out if you or a family member may be eligible for a claim, request a free case evaluation.

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