Fentanyl Patches Killing People!

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I would like to know WHY the FDA has not taken the Fentanyl Patch off the market? This drug is being handed out like candy. Anyone who is not terminal or under Hospice care or in a hospital invironment should not be using this drug. Why would a person be prescribed a medication that is 80 times stronger than morphine for a backache. I do not believe patients know how powerful this medication is. The warning should be labled in RED. When are you FDA going to realize This medication is killing while relieving pain! I know because it killed my son.

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Verwon Says:

Very sorry to hear that you lost your son, from use of this medication.

As to the warnings, those used by the FDA are black box warnings, to alert people to serious risks.

While it can be dangerous, since it is so powerful and often abuse, it is also a boon to many people suffering chronic pain, for whom other medications have stopped working.

It is not just used for backaches, it is used for many, many other painful conditions as well.

Since it is available as the lollipop Actiq and the time released patches, it works wonders for the greater amount of people that are careful to use it properly.

My doctor had me try it once and while it did help my pain, it also proved to be far too strong for me. It made me very sick and I stopped using it.


Are there any questions or comments?

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Jean Says:

I am not against Fentanyl for people who are terminal. It should be used in a hospital environment or under Hospice care. My son was a stickler for using his medicine exactly as it was prescribed. He was full of life, Just had a bad back. It eased his pain alright, It took it away forever.

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Kevin Says:

I take fentynal trans D patches 100 mg. They work well I am supposed to change them every 3 days. But after 2.5 days I start feeling tired and have this type of yawn where I gasp for air 3-4 times before the yawn. So I change mine every 2.5 days instead of every 3 days. To stop this reaction. I told the consultant at the pain clinic about the reaction his answer to this was to send me for councilling. Taking these patches worries me and I am thinking of cutting a strip off the patches to decrease the dose slowly so I can get off them. My heads a mess. I need to get off them.

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Jeaneau Says:

I am so sorry for your loss. I use a 50mcg patch every 48 hours and if it were not for this medication I would not be able to stand up. This medication has been a life saver for thousands of people who would have long since committed suicide due to severe pain. I am not lucky enough to be able to take much of anything else due to severe drug allergies. I was a nurse for 30 years and didn't really understand pain until I became a chronic pain patient. Funny how my helping people all of my life put me in a position to hardly be able to take care of myself.
All drugs used for pain, even aspirin, are potentially abused. You know the old saying "if one is good, two must be better.". More people need to use the most minimal amount of medication to help alleviate the pain but not knock themselves out with it. If you are in a brain fog being on a medication than it is too strong for you. Always talk to your pain management physician about your medication, don't let some general practice doc start prescribing these strong drugs. They are not specialists and don't have the knowledge to be giving you these drugs.
I hope everyone is pain free and able to live your life not just attend it!

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Jean Says:

My son was under the care of a pain management Physician in Calif. He was sent a prescription for 2 boxes of 100mg Fentanyl patches and 240 Oxycotin. MRI was neg. He took it around the clock as rx to him.He set his clock to take on time. If back pain is this bad what happens when you get cancer. Nothing will help. His experience with this medication was getting stronger and stronger every month. it went from 25mcg to 100mcg in four months.

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Jeaneau Says:

Now that you have listed the types and amounts of medication he was prescribed I see things a little more clearly. Two boxes of fentanyl is a normal Rx for a one month dose, changing the patch every 3 days. The Oxycontin worries me. Did they give him 240 pills to take in a month? That Rx would have been an abusive amount ( not that he abused them) but if he took them around the clock I can see how he could overdose. Most pain management only want to give one long acting med (Fentanyl) and supplement with an IR (oxycodone) for breakthrough pain. 240 Oxycontin would supress anyone's respiratory center. I am so sorry that your pain management doctor would give your child this much deadly medication. But Fenanyl is an extremely useful medication used in a wide variety not just back pain. I do hope that one day you can find peace in your heart.

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Julie Says:

if these drugs were taken off the market, why should not they all be. I don't think that anyone should have a say so about a person's medication except that person and they physician. So many people in this world claim to know what someone else feels like. I don't think people should stick their noses into the business of others as to their pain, etc. I can understand why a person would rather be dead than live with horrible pain with the hope for a cure in the future. If people want to pry because they don't understand pain, than why not spend all that energy into this country spending taxpayers money for cures. what about second hand cigarette smoke. why not ban cigarettes? don't judge what you don't understand. if someone wants to smoke, i think it's their business and I am not a smoker and never have been.

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Julie Says:

I forgot to mention. That several years went by before I could find a doctor to help me thru my pain. Twenty four hours a day and 7 days a week I was in excrutiating pain. The only thing that kept me from killing myself was what it would do to my children and my faith in God. I prayed every day that God would either cure me or send me a doctor to help make the pain bearable. It took few years but now I'm glad God sent me the wonderful doctor. I don't know how much longer I could have hung it out. I am so sorry for your loss. It has to be so hard to lose a child. My children are my life, that is why I couldn't kill myself. I couldn't bear what it would have done to the. God be you.

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byrd Says:

if you abuse these narcotics yes they can kill you.

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Kerry Says:

Hello Julie, I am happy to hear that you found a great doctor that has helped manage your pain. I have been dealing with severe chronic pain for years and have tried just about every medication out there. some have worked, but as time goes on my body built up a dependency...so I went completely off of everything to start at the bottom again. Still, since I had to have a surgery where I had a rib and my scalene muscle in my neck removed as a result of being a passenger of a horrible car accident-after years of searching for someone with an answer and a cure for the the cause of my pain I finally found a thoracic surgeon and had the surgery. There were complications, I had a punctured lung from the surgery, severe nerve damage, as well as a hole and fluid build up in my shoulder as a result. It has now been a yr since the surgery, norm healing time is three months. I am in pain around the clock, can barely get 4 hrs of sleep every few days because the pain doesnt go away. I have just been switched from Opana Er which was working ok, it did seem to help but my new pain dr put me on the Fentanyl patch which seems to be working as well. My issue is my PM dr doesnt believe in breakthrough pain meds and sometimes I can get my pain managable if I lay still for days but after more than 2 hrs of any activity-even a shower my pec swells up like I am a body builder, my nerve pain is off the charts and I either faint, hyperventilate or my body just begins to shake because the pain is too much. I have built up a tolerance to pain throughout this hell., but I dont know what to do anymore. Truthfully I dont want to be on any medication, I want to get back to my life. I was 27 when I was injured, now I am 31 and am watching life pass me by. Julie I realize this is a long msg and since you wrote yours last yr I am unsure you will get it but I am taking a chance. I need a pain mngt dr that trusts me. Every appt I have with this man is like I am on trial and all he does is fire questions at me and accuse me of lying when it turns out to be a clerical error or something on the part of the staff. I dont have much control of my life right now which is frustrating enough, but my integrity is something just about the only thing that I can control and hold onto right now and the fact that the man that is prescribing me these meds doesnt seem to trust me, I am curious if the wonderful Doc that your prayers and God has blessed you with is anywhere near California??? I so badly need help from someone I trust and who trusts me. I am willing to go anywhere if there really is a pain dr out there who isnt sceptical of everyone. If you get this and wouldnt mind sharing even the vicinity of your dr I would be so grateful. I am praying every day but I am really having a hard time, I cant just watch my life pass me by anymore. Thank you for any advice. I truly hope that you and anyone who reads this finds relief from any pain that you may be experiencing. People who dont have chronic pain have no idea what it is like being trapped inside your own body. Take care! K

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Vicki Says:

Hi, I'm really sorry about your son, may he rest in peace. But if it weren't for fentanyl lozengers aka actiq, I would probably be dead by now. I suffer from Arnold Chiari Malformation (failed decompression brain surgery), Pseudotumor Cerebri (v.p. shunt placed), Ischemia and Gliosis of the brain, 3 autoimmune diseases (rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus (why I can't use patch), and most recently multiple sclerosis), also compressed vertebrae and my c1 arch was removed. I also suffer from many unrelated health conditions. I ran the gambit of medications starting with things like vicodin n darvacet. After many years they all stopped working. I take the fentanyl lozenges made specially for me at a compound pharmacy and are sugarfree. I take 1200 mcg's 4 a day and 95 mg of ms-contin 3 times a day. Without these meds and the others I take I wouldnt even be able to stand. As it is I still have pain, but most of the time I can deal. I'm only 41 and have been on them for over 8 years. I regret the years I took the name brand actiq because they rotted my teeth from the inside out and I had to lose them all, but I have 5 children, my youngest is 3, if I didn't have my meds, I would never be able to do anything with them. I don't know what your sons back pains were caused by, but most drs. Wont prescribe fentanyl for something that's not extremely serious or painful and usually try many many things first. Was that the case with him? And if I could only get it in hospital or hospice setting it would mean losing my family whom I love very much and who all feel the same towards me. Was your son taking more then he was supposed to? Fentanyl is strictly for cancer breakthru pain and for people who are extremely opiod tolerant. It is NOT a medication to be prescribed for post surgery or minor things. But it should definitely NOT be taken off the market! If used correctly it is a fantastic medication.

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ladagosta Says:

I AM TRULY SORRY to hear of your loss, as for the patches they are not reportedly a problem but there was a batch of them now titled "the killer" patch I am sure you filed a law suit with an attorney as this was all over the news for months in 2007. when i was feeling a sense of tenseness and jumpiness increased heart rate, I fortunately took them off and reported it to my pain management doctor and they told me not to use the sandoz brand as i must have an allergy to them this was in 2006 later to hear about the law suit against the product. I have since learned to only use watson and mylan brand and as for side affects the only ones i have is from withdrawal as the guidelines and pre authorizations tend to have me going through withdrawal every month and I back down on the strength because the withdrawal on top of the pain is too much to deal with i think they are ridiculous with the hurdle one need to jump in order to get this drug. without this medication i may as well just pray for the end because i can not move of get out of bed and the pain is so intense i wish and pray for death i am presently on 50 mcg every 2 days if i can get the script filled which lately has been far too traumatic and withdrawal is every month this year so far.

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Goody212 Says:

I had much the same experience as you described. Finally I did find a wonderful doctor at USC in Los Angeles. They have a great pain management clinic and my doctor is the head. His name is Dr. Stephen Richeimer.

I was 29 when I was injured and am now 44 and living with my parents in SC. Not what I'd planned for my life. But the pain and the effects and side effects have made this the only solution. My parents try to understand but can't. They nag me about sleeping too much.

If you're in CA, get yourself a medical marijuana card ASAP!

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Linda Says:

i honestly have to concur with you as far as this being a medication that should remain accessible to those who really need it and as far as the directions NO ONE should TAKE IT UPON themselves to alter the dosage without direction of a medical professional. including and not limited to pharmacy and insurance company guidelines and regulations requiring those who are prescribe it to stop it suddenly due to approval, I.E. prior authorizations. In the past 2 years I had undergone withdrawal more often than actually being ON the medication and it was wreaking havoc with my entire bodily functions. finally this year a patient on medicare can call in their own prior authorizations and not rely on the medical professionals. a major change in regulations which will prevent unnecessary suffering on the patients part due to delay in handling these "prior authorizations". Loss of Life due to a medication is not acceptable, yet there are usually other factors found after investigating that may or may not have to do with the substance itself, such as allergies, misuse and or adverse affects and interactions with other medications.. Fentynal patches should not be used in conjunction with other Opioids there are "compliance" contracts the patient makes with professionals that prohibit the use of other narcotics while using this particular medication. Personally, I have to take a narcotic test on demand every so often at the request of my physician to make certain I am not using any other prescriptions while under his care if found to be on anything outside of his prescribe medications I will be black listed from treatment permanently. they do have guidelines and laws for those who misuse these highly regulated medications. This is fyi and others I do not think they should ban this medication nor make it impossible to obtain for those who NEED it. but making certain that people who are prescribe this and any narcotic should be clearly outlined and explained so that abuse or misuse is not possible.

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Child of mine Says:
via mobile

I had been prescribed Fentanyl patches for severe pain. My 19 year old son consumed 1-100 mg patch at bedtime I found our beloved Kyle slumped over his computer 10 hours later DEAD. Cause of death Fentanyl toxicity. This was in 2004 very little information about this drug was readily availabe.What can a mother say its been close to 10 years of self loathing, suicidal thoughts in the past. This drug can and has killed children granted he was an adult but in that one vulnerable moment we have experienced the worst loss imaginable. Fentanyl users use with extreme caution. I welcome comments.

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estoericlady Says:

Dear Child of Mine, while my sincerest condolences go out to the loss of your son, I know I would be lost if ever I had to live with the loss of my own no matter how old they are, it would be the end of my life, although I would not end my life, i would loose faith in life and living, but somehow I would try to go on for the sake of those who love me.
While I can certainly understand your plight, Fentynal, is safe provided the care provider uses caution and certainly 100 MG is far too strong a dose no human could endure. I have been on 25 mcg 50 mcg and 75 mcg every 2 days. within the limits of these dosages this drugs is certainly SAFE. outside of them I can not say for certain other than my personal experience, and certainly the withdrawal which I have been victim to more often than not, is something that no person should have to endure once let alone as many times as I have due to the controversy and restrictions they are placing on this medication.
While I do not say that this drug should be taken lightly, I also do not say that is should be removed or taken off the market, as for those who suffer with conditions that are terminal and severe, this is one of the only drugs that will provide relief to them.
I do know for a fast back in 2005 there was a batch of fentynal patches they deemed to be "killer" patches due to an error in production. I have been on this drug since that year, and I happened to get a number of prescriptions from a particular drug company that I refused to ever take again as they made me feel very ill and strange at the same time,,IE. heart racing palpitations, cold clammy sweating, I have previously suffered from silent heart attacks and this was very similar to the symptoms one has when having a silent heart attack. I refused to ever fill a script made by this company and never will, i would sooner do without and suffer the withdrawal than accept a script filled by them. I do not know the underlying circumstances surrounding your son's misfortune, yet there are other drugs that people claim have taken their family, and they find that there was underlying or hidden medical issues that no one was aware of. but as I said the dosage you posted was enough to kill an elephant unless that was an error. I have never had 100 mcg's and I dont plan to ever go that high a dose although i know people who do , I personally will not i would sooner feel a little pain than get that addicted to a narcotic medication. I am actually in the process of moving to a state where there is medical marijuana and i will get off the man made narcotics as soon as possible since i know it has screwed up my entire digestive system to the point i have no choice but to remain on it until i can legally ingest POT as an alternative treatment for pain.
Your son is no longer in pain and at peace where he is now.. rest on that thought. I look forward to the day I may be free of pain and at rest.. as most in pain do..

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BevMar Says:

First, any death from any drug is deeply regrettable. However, the Fentanyl patches have the potential for fatal instances when it is misused. It is the misuse OR the leaking of the gel within the patch that can cause death.

The potential for leaking is why I prefer to use the patches that are made by Mylan, the drug is embedded into the patch's matrix and is not directly available. It is the safest patch on the market.

HOWEVER, it is not handed out like candy by any means. I am the leader of a neuropathy group, out of 75 people, I am the only one who has been prescribed Fentanyl. Doctors are AFRAID of the damned things. Although I have used Fentanyl at the level of 50 mcg/hr for five years, it has NO EFFECT WHATSOEVER on my spinal pain, ZERO. Fentanyl seems to work differently on different people, in my case, it only works on nerve pain. People who know me will give credence to the fact that I have a LOT of nerve.

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estoericlady Says:

I concur, mylan is not the only company who uses the no gel method of manufacturing.. but it is a safe guard against leaking patches.. just thought i would throw my 2 cents worth on the post.. misuse is definitely a primary reason for this drug to get a BAD label.

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BevMar Says:

100 mcg/hr is perfectly safe. Don't sweat getting hooked, you already are hooked, m'friend. People can get hooked even at 25 mcg/hr. But don't sweat the small stuff. If you're anything like me, you'll be on these things for the rest of your life. Fentanyl isn't handed out like candy the way one rightfully upset gentleman said; physicians only give it out to patients who can handle it and know how to change their patches properly. Death happens when they are misused. However, the patches are designed to be replaced every 72 hours, not 48 hours.

But, if that is what your doctor said, you've got to follow his directions. My insurance will not pay for more than 10 patches a month. However, I'm having breakthrough pain so I'm going to ask for a 25 mcg upgrade next week.

I'm also using Neurontin for breakthrough but it isn't doing much. If you have, as I suspect, chronic pain, you may be interested in the social networking pages for Chronic Pain, we're all in this together.

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Thorsen Says:

I am so deeply sorry that Fentanyl killed your son. There is no pain more difficult in my opinion on your loss. I fractured my neck and have a plate holding my cervical spine in place. I have 6 fracture on my T-spine (mid back). Three surgeries on my lower back. If it wasn't for the Fentanyl patch I would not be on this earth today.I'm in such bad pain I a grown man cries everyday. I do not abuse any drugs what so ever. I don't drink or smoke. The fentanyl is the only medicine that has help me live. it is really sad that Opioids killed a over 12 thousand people a year due to abuse. What upsets me is that Cigarette smoking kills 443. 000 people in the United States every year and its legal to buy anywhere. Alcohol kills 75,00 Americans a year and it's legal. I wonder why it so easy to get Cigarettes and Alcohol which kills so many people in the United states and the world and the people like myself are treated like criminals just to help me get by just because I need to use a Precription drug to kill my pain to live a better life. There is definitely something wrong with this picture. Again I am so sorry for the loss of your son and my prayers go out to him and family. God bless

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