The Duragesic patch contains fentanyl, an opioid (and classed as a narcotic) several times more potent than morphine. The product was designed to deliver ongoing pain management to patients experiencing chronic pain. The fentanyl is contained in a reservoir inside the patch. When applied, a properly functioning patch is designed to administer measured amounts of fentanyl through the skin—enough to dull intense pain, yet not enough to pose a health risk.
Previously, there have been instances where the Fentanyl Duragesic patch has been compromised due to a manufacturer's defect, putting many patients in serious jeopardy. A Duragesic patch recall was undertaken several years ago for just that reason. Caregivers need to handle the patches with care, to avoid the possibility of fentanyl getting into their system through their hands and fingers.
Fentanyl can be lethal.
Last month, the FDA issued a communiqué, warning of the dangers Fentanyl patches can pose to children. CNN Wire reported April 19 on the FDA advisory that stated, in part:
"Young children are at particular risk of accidental exposure to fentanyl patches. Their mobility and curiosity provide opportunities for them to find lost patches, take improperly discarded patches from the trash, or find improperly stored patches, all of which may result in patches being placed in their mouths or sticking to their skin. Additionally, young children are at risk of exposure when being held by someone wearing a partially detached patch, which can then transfer to the child."
Duragesic side effects can slow breathing, and even result in death. To that end, the FDA reports 10 deaths and 12 cases requiring hospitalization out of 26 incidents of accidental fentanyl exposure since 1997, the FDA says.
Those are the reported incidents. Many more go unreported, especially given the rise in illicit use of the Duragesic pain patch by non-patients.
READ MORE DURAGESIC FENTANYL PATCH LEGAL NEWS
It is not known if the Compton family has filed a fentanyl lawsuit.
While illicit use of the Duragesic pain patch is something a manufacturer can't easily control, there are plenty of instances of patients having died, or whose health has been severely compromised as the result of a defective fentanyl patch or improper use of the patch. In some cases, doctors have prescribed fentanyl for conditions not warranting such a potent opioid. In others, patients have fallen ill or have died from the use of a fentanyl patch while unaware of the consequences.
Many a Duragesic lawsuit has followed.