Fentanyl Takes Over When Morphine Isn’t Enough

By Jim Greene

Published on February 12, 2010

Fentanyl and morphine are both opioid pain killers that work on the central nervous system. Morphine originated from the opium poppy; fentanyl was created in the laboratory. Fentanyl is often prescribed for severe pain when patients develop a tolerance for morphine or other opioids.

Morphine is prescribed for patients who require strong relief from severe pain for more than a few days. It can become addictive. Exactly how morphine works is not known. Patients are still aware of pain, but the drug increases tolerance and decreases discomfort.

Fentanyl is 100 Times Stronger than Morphine

When pain exceeds the ability of morphine to control it, fentanyl, which is 100 times stronger, is often the next step up in relief, especially for cancer patients. Because of its strength, fentanyl presents a much greater potential for addiction than does morphine.

Both morphine and fentanyl can cause respiratory depression, by reducing the responsiveness of the part of the brain that controls autonomic breathing functions. Again, because of its strength, fentanyl poses a greater risk potential.

Originally created for intravenous use, fentanyl is now available in other forms, including a transdermal patch branded as Duragesic® that has been the subject of numerous personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits. The patch is designed for continuous extended use, for up to a few days. Because of this ability, the Duragesic® patch has been used for other than cancer patients.

Lawsuits Filed over Misapplication and Leakage

Many personal injury lawsuits concerning Duragesic® have alleged inappropriate or improper use under medical supervision, leading to withdrawal symptoms or addiction. In some cases, dosages were alleged to be high enough to cause wrongful death due to respiratory depression, either through a prescribed accidental overdose or because a Duragesic® patch leaked

If you have suffered withdrawal or addiction or lost a loved one because of a Duragesic® patch or other form of fentanyl, contact an experienced attorney familiar with product liability, personal injury, and wrongful death litigation. You may be eligible to receive financial compensation to help you deal with your expenses and with your pain and suffering.

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Keyword Tags: defective drugs, pharmaceutical litigation

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