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Another Fentanyl Lawsuit Filed

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Pittsburgh, PAAnother fentanyl lawsuit alleging a patient died after being prescribed fentanyl patches has been filed. The lawsuit claims the fentanyl product—often sold in a Duragesic patch—was defective, leading to the patient's death.

According to the Pennsylvania Record (1/5/12), the lawsuit was filed by Jose Campuzano, after the death of his wife, Charlene Manzo. Campuzano alleges Mylan Inc and Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc. were negligent in the manufacture, design and sale of the fentanyl pain patch prescribed to Charlene Manzo. The lawsuit states Manzo died on January 9, 2010, shortly after she was given a prescription for 100 mcg and 75 mcg fentanyl patches. Furthermore, the lawsuit claims Manzo did not ever abuse or misuse the patches but died of a fentanyl overdose while using the prescribed patch.

The lawsuit alleges Manzo had a blood-fentanyl concentration of 20 ng/ML, which is considered a lethal amount and is more than four times the mean maximal fentanyl concentration that the prescribed fentanyl patches should have delivered when working together. Campuzano claims the makers of the patch knew about the risks associated with the patch but continued to market them without properly disclosing those risks to the public or to federal regulators.

Fentanyl pain patches are prescribed to help patients manage severe pain that is not helped by other pain medications. The drug is more potent than morphine and can be deadly when patients receive too much of the active ingredient. Some fentanyl patches, including the Duragesic pain patches, have been subject to recalls because of problems with the design that resulted in patients being exposed to high amounts of fentanyl. Problems with the patches reportedly included cuts on the edge of the patch that allowed the fentanyl to come into contact with the patient's skin.

Fentanyl overdose has been linked to respiratory failure, coma and death. Symptoms of fentanyl overdose include slow breathing, dizziness, weakness, loss of consciousness, confusion, seizures and small pupils.

Duragesic pain patches, which are not the subject of the Campuzano lawsuit, are manufactured by Alza Corp and marketed by Janssen Pharmaceutica, both subsidiaries of Johnson & Johnson. Lawsuits have been filed against the makers of various fentanyl pain patches, alleging the patches were defectively designed, causing the death of patients exposed to lethal levels of fentanyl.


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