The LA Times has reported that numerous deaths across the country have been linked to the drug Fentanyl, a narcotic delivered through a pain patch. According to the article, medical experts are concerned that the pain patch, though a convenient method of delivering pain medication, can deliver the drugs too fast and that other variables, such as skin temperature and skin thickness can affect the rate at which the drug is delivered to the system of an individual and in some cases can lead to overdose.
The Duragesic brand Fentanyl patch, known as the “fentanyl transdermal system”, is manufactured by Janssen L.P. of Titusville, N.J., and was approved by the FDA in 1990. A generic version of the drug delivery system, manufactured by Mylan Laboratories Inc. of Canonsburg, Pa., was approved by the FDA in 2005.
In 2005, a FDA Fentanyl pain patch safety warning , recommended that patches should be prescribed at the lowest dose required for pain relief, should not be used to treat short-term pain or pain after an operation, and should only be used by patients already established on opioid drugs. Additional guidance on the proper use of Fentanyl patches was published in 2006.
Experts are concerned that not enough medical practitioners are heeding these warnings. There are also reports about drug addicts abusing Fentanyl pain patches.
To stay current on developments and FDA recommendations and warnings concerning Fentanyl pain patches and other drugs, check out the FDA website: http://www.fda.gov/