Request Legal Help Now - Free


ETHEX Drug Overdose "Like Going to Hell and Back Again"

. By
York, SCSandi I. is just one of many patients who say they suffered from a mix-up that led to an ETHEX drug overdose. Sandi was taking morphine, one of the drugs named in the recent ETHEX drug recall. Although Sandi survived her ordeal, she says she spent months with serious problems and wouldn't wish that experience on anyone.

MorphineSandi says she had just come out of neck surgery when her doctor prescribed 15 mg immediate release morphine tablets. She was prescribed a large dose of morphine: up to 4 tablets a day. This was in addition to the morphine she was already on at 30 mgs 3 times a day. Sandi was given a prescription for 120 tablets, which she had filled at Walgreens. She says that Walgreens was not her normal pharmacy and it is here that she received the ETHEX morphine.

While she took the ETHEX morphine, Sandi had some problems with breathing. She saw a pulmonary doctor, who put her on an inhaler. Besides that, however, she says she did not have too much trouble.

When Sandi was almost finished her 120 tablets, she got a new prescription for morphine. She got this prescription filled at her regular pharmacy, which carried a different generic version of morphine—not the ETHEX version. It was at this point that Sandi started suffering serious side effects.

"I started taking the new pills and within 24 hours I started getting sick," Sandi says. "I had chest pains, I couldn't breathe, I was nauseated, I had abdominal cramps and felt faint and I was sweating. I had those creepy-crawly feelings. I have been on and off morphine for the last 10 years and I didn't associate those problems with the pills. I had no reason to suspect it was the morphine. I thought I was having a heart attack because of not being able to breathe and because of the chest pains.

"I went to my doctor, who rushed me into the hospital, did an EKG and put me on all kinds of medications. I was put on an upper GI cocktail, Lasix, potassium and Xanax for anxiety because I started having panic attacks. After that, there was nothing more my doctor could because she didn't know what was causing my problems. My heart was okay, but it was beating really fast.

"I came home and things continued to get worse. The feelings continued. I called the doctor and she said, 'I don't know what to tell you.' A few days later, I received a notice that the morphine I received from Walgreens was recalled. I knew then that I was going through withdrawals. Everything clicked—I had withdrawals before, when I had been on a high dose of morphine.

"At that time, I contacted ETHEX myself and asked how much morphine I was taking. They told me that I could be getting as much as 3 to 4 times the morphine I had before. I contacted my pain doctor who prescribes the morphine and he told me that he did not know how much I was getting in my system. I was on 30 mgs 3 times a day, plus the 15 mgs up to 4 times a day. He said I would have to wait out the symptoms and there was nothing else they could do.

"I stayed home and suffered. You're sick from withdrawal and people think it's no big deal, but coming off of morphine—the pain and suffering that you go through, I wouldn't wish that on anybody. Even if you are taking morphine on pain, you can become an addict. I was getting up to 280 mgs of morphine a day; now I'm back to 60 mgs a day. Your body goes through major withdrawal and it wants the drugs that it's used to. You go through sweats, diarrhea, vomiting, tremors, not able to breathe right, not able to eat or do anything or stand up straight. You suffer like that for months.

"I'm still going through the withdrawal symptoms and trying to adjust to my new prescription. These are all things that you don't know are related to the drug because you don't know at the time that it's under recall.

"I'm on morphine—it's not a choice to be on this drug, it's because of a chronic pain condition. I have to take a pill one hour before I get out of bed in the morning so that I CAN get out of bed in the morning. For these pharmaceutical companies to be so careless and for us to go through this—going through the pain and suffering of withdrawals—it's worse than debilitating problems.

"Withdrawal symptoms are like going to hell and back again. It's the worst thing in the world. It's not a choice we make—we have to do it to survive."



Please read our comment guidelines before posting.

Note: Your name will be published with your comment.

Your email will only be used if a response is needed.

Are you the defendant or a subject matter expert on this topic with an opposing viewpoint? We'd love to hear your comments here as well, or if you'd like to contact us for an interview please submit your details here.

Click to learn more about

Request Legal Help Now! - Free