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Man Almost Overdosed on Fentanyl

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Payette, IDAfter dealing with 10 major surgeries over 21 years, Roger has gained a lot of knowledge and experience regarding pain medications, pain management and pain clinics. He studies every medication before taking it, but fentanyl, by way of the Duragesic patch, was in a class all by itself.

Duragesic Surgery"I started taking fentanyl by way of the Duragesic patch in 2002 and my doctor had me changing the patches every two days rather than every 3 days," says Roger. "I was also taking prescription opiates and never had a problem. But a few years later I had stopped taking all pain medications—I knew I couldn't live with them anymore. As you can imagine, I had a really hard time trying to withdraw, I suffered a lot." There is no doubt that the Duragesic patch is addictive, but that isn't Roger's complaint...

A few years later he needed some temporary relief to help manage his pain—Roger has a major spinal injury—and his doctor prescribed the Duragesic patch again, 25 mg. "After wearing one of these patches for 12 hours, I felt extremely tired and dizzy," he says, "and by the 18th hour I realized I was having an overdose so I took it off. I knew I was overdosing because of my history—I had never felt this way before. Wearing one patch for 12 hours made me sleep for two days and I was groggy after that for an additional two days. So I decided to wear it only for 8 hours or so.

The trouble with this fentanyl started in December 2007. I found out that I had the same batch with the same expiration date as the recall: I kept 4 of the patches, still in their package. As soon as I heard about the recall, I stopped wearing it. With my experience in taking massive doses of pain meds, I have no doubt that something was wrong—either it leaked or the material was defective or cut. Back in 2002 I had taken upwards of 3 times that dosage; now I took the lowest dose and this happened.

I talked to my doctor about the fentanyl and he prescribed an alternate patch. I guess I am kind of lucky because there was another recall in 2008—I didn't wear any of those Durgesic patches. It really makes you wonder: Where is the drug company's quality control?

When a person wears a patch that has a multi-day supply of medication there is an unspoken trust that this medication won't kill you. It is possible that you can have a reaction but I wasn't expecting anything to happen because I had taken it before.

I believe I have a strong case, especially with these four defective patches in front of me, from the recalled lot. However, I probably waited past the statute of limitations but I want to get my story out there, so that others are warned about fentanyl."

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