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Mylan Fentanyl Patch Lawsuit Filed Over Defective Pain Patches

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A fentanyl patch lawsuit has been filed by a West Virginia woman who allegedly went comatose after wearing a generic version of a pain patch manufactured by Mylan Pharmaceuticals, which was defective. 

The product liability lawsuit was filed by Glenda Ann Maxewell, of Charleston, last month in Kanawha Circuit Court in West Virginia. According to the complaint, Maxwell filled a prescription for a Mylan fentanyl pain patch on January 28, 2009. Three days later she was found unresponsive and wearing one of the patches. She was in a coma for 12 hours and hospitalized for a week due to a fentanyl overdose. Maxwell claims to have suffered permanent memory loss and has lost her sense of direction as a result of problems with the patch.

The Mylan fentanyl patch is a generic version of the Duragesic patch, which is manufactured by a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. The pain patch is prescribed to patients suffering from chronic, severe pain. It is designed to slowly deliver a dose of the powerful painkiller Fentanyl, which is an opioid that is considered 100 times more powerful than heroine. If too much of the medication is delivered or if the fentanyl gel contained in the patch comes in direct contact with the skin, it can cause a fatal fentanyl patch overdose.

Maxwell’s lawsuit claims that the Mylan patch was defective, and she is seeking an unspecified amount of compensatory and punitive damages. 

There have been a number of reported problems with fentanyl pain patches due to manufacturing issues since the brand name medication was first introduced by Johnson & Johnson in 1994. At least six different fentanyl patch recalls have been issued by Johnson & Johnson and companies manufacturing generic versions of the patch, raising questions about whether the powerful painkiller can be safely made.

Hundreds of fentanyl pain patch overdose deaths have been associated with different versions of the patch, and dozens of pain patch lawsuits have been filed against the various manufacturers.

Out of the first four fentanyl patch lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson to go to trial over problems with their Duragesic patch, plaintiffs have been successful in each case, with juries awarding a combined total of more than $36 million in damages.

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18 comments

  1. Derrick Reply

    Hi im derrick 26 of charlotte nc my wife jennifer was 29 with 4 kids she put a patch on and deid in hours .Im looking for a good lawyer

  2. Cheri Reply

    I’ve been using for 2 months and have found it to be the answer to chronic severe pain.. My drugist didn’t mention any recalls. It appears the brand I’m using, Mylan, has not issued any recalls, even though there is one lawsuit against it. I have suffered with this pain for 11 years. I am desperate enough to get pain relief that I willt continue to use the patch.

  3. brenda Reply

    i lost all my teeth and had to have surgery.i lost bone in my mouth and my top lip went unter due to lake of bone.

  4. Patti Reply

    I have been using the Mylan generic patch (looks like a clear bandaid with lettering on it…when the white written imprint is gone, the patch is finished and it’s time for a new one.) Without this medication, I wouldn’t be able to walk. I’d be in a wheel chair. My point ? The Duragesic “bubble” patch is indeed badly engineered. After a scary overdose, my pharmacist gave me the safer patches with the medicine in the glue itself. No way to overdose, or abuse them that I can think of. No one mentions the countless suicides each year of chronic pain patients who received no relief from their doctors. My poor mother is one of those suicides. Please, everyone, don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. This medicine is a Godsend for many of us. Let’s eliminate the ones that are poorly designed, and make proper use of the safe ones, available to all. I can only speak for myself, but I must work; otherwise, homeless and pennyless I will be. I’m still in some pain, but at least at level 4-5 I can function well enough to earn a living.
    Blessings to all who read this….

  5. Lindsey Reply

    I just started wearing the patch. After so much agonizing pain, this little patch works. I used one and that took the edge off, making walking and movement possible without assistance. Hell, I’m 34 and function like I’m in my final years. I decided to try 2 at a time as the doctor ordered, but had a reaction that caused concern. I live in the desert area. I am wondering if the increase in temperatures (body and environmental) increased the release of Fentanyl too quickly. I could hardly keep my eyes open and was quite drowsy. I wasn’t in the car as a passenger longer than 15 minutes and I vomitted after getting a headache. I lost my appetite and continued to feel lethargic. I was afraid to close my eyes because my breathing slowed. I took one patch off and cooled down. I agree with Patti, medication such as this provide many of us with a second chance at life; however, when our health runs the increased risk of death as a result, the benefits do not outweigh the risk. My thoughts are with you and your children Derrick. I think I will continue to use only one patch. Hopefully, this will take off enough of the edge to make life functional. Does anyone have any advice regarding use? I read and re-read the documents that came with the box, but do not feel I was thoroughly taught the issues involving Fentanyl use.

  6. Cindy Reply

    i was prescribed the fentynol pain patch after back surgery. a nurse placed the patch on me and told me to change it every 72 hours. I almost immediately went into a comatose state. I did things in my home that were obsurd. i walked around naked. Got on top of my kitchen table, and in general was out of my head. Because of this stupid patch, my butt landed in a psychiatric unit in the hospital. They thought i was CRAZY. I have never felt so helpless or humiliated in my life. I now suffer from memory loss. I can hardly remember anything from one day to the other. I did’nt realize though, that it was a possible side effect from a fentynal overdose. If anyone has the name of a good attorney, please email it to me. I hope though, that I don’t have to involve my surgeon. He just prescribed it. In my opinion, it needs pulled from the market!

  7. Terri Reply

    I have been using the Mylan fentanyl patches for 7 years with no problems and am still on the initial 25 mcg dose, the smallest available. I have Interstitial Cystitis, a condition where the protective lining of the bladder sloughs off and leaves the nerve endings in the bladder in contact with the toxins in the urine, think of the worst bladder infection ever 24/7. There is no cure and I have tried ever treatment to help it to no avail. I have tried the brand name and the Watson, which are both large squares with a gel reservoir, and I am allergic to the glue, as soon as I put one on the area breaks out in a rash, and hate the size. I have not had any problem with the Mylan brand, unfortunately the pharmacies around they keep changing brands, every time I find one that carries them, a couple months down the road they change. The Mylan are the size of half of an average band aid and easy to hide. One of Walgreens here special orders it in, the problem is that they never order enough for all of the people who request it, most hate the other brands.

    Unless you have been on opiate pain medication for awhile, you should never be given fentanyl. It would be like giving someone who has never tried heroin, the same amount that a long time junkie. would use. You wouldn’t give someone just starting on fentanyl 100mcg, you would start them at 25mcg, or the equivalent of whatever medication they were already on. I had been on Vicodin until I started going to a pain specialist, who put me on the fentanyl, since it was going to be long term, maybe permanently and you shouldn’t take Vicodin long term due to the Acetaminophen, which can be toxic when taken several times a day everyday. It isn’t for temporary pain relief, such as after surgery. I would find a lawyer if you were not on any opiate therapy before a patch was placed on you, every medical website will tell you that.

    This medication is a miracle for those of us who need permanent full time pain relief, as you don’t have the peaks and valleys you have between dosages like you get with pills and taking pills can cause severe stomach problems after awhile. Today you should always look up the medications you are prescribed, doctors and other hospital staff do make mistakes.

    Not everyone can handle every drug. Years ago, one of my sisters had surgery, and the woman sharing her room was on morphine. When she woke up, she swore that the Crucifix above the door came flying off of the wall at her. There are non-opiate drugs that I have taken that gave me nightmares. Every night, a different family member died in my dreams, that really scared me because I often have dreams that come true shortly after I dream them.

    One person’s miracle drug may be your worst nightmare.

  8. Jacqui Reply

    I started using the Watson fentanyl patches (50 mcg) 3 years ago. They would make me sick sometimes and I really had to be careful not to get too hot. Then I was given the Mylan brand. No problem since. The gel doesn’t leak as easy as the Watson and I will never go back to that brand. As for using fentanyl…I am very thankful to have it. I would pretty much be useless for anything due to the pain. Since using this patch, my pain is at a minimum and I can function. I still need a backup, but not often. I agree with Patti. “Don’t throw out the baby with the bath water.” Drugs have different reactions with different people. You really need to read the box and the info inside before you use it. Or even talk to the pharmacist if you can. Anyway, I’m glad to have them.

  9. Georgia Reply

    I read a comment regarding a person losing their teeth. I have been on the fentanyl patch for 7 years and all of a sudden my fillings are coming out, my teeth are crumbling and my hair has thinned considerably. The Pharmacies in my area stopped – this past July – carrying the Mylan brand. I would really like to know if the years of the Mylan brand would be a reason for my dental issues. Also cold sweats and severe chest pains.

  10. arnold Reply

    I do not understand the problems people are having with the fentanyl patch.I have been on these different patches for 12 years with no problems like people have said .At one time i was on two 100 mcg patches every 2 days ,the only thing that i found, is that they really work well for pain.Since the my doctor retired back in 2006,and the new one that was given to me by the ins company they have cut me back to 1 50 mcg every 2 day.I suffer more now than i did, with my old doctor,these patches work, if used as doctors say,not as i have heard other people tell me they have try with them!!!

  11. Terry Reply

    Have there been any reports of additional dangers for Asthmatics using the Fentanyl patches?

  12. BRIAN Reply

    THE THING IS PEOPLE HAVE TO BE ON MS CONTION A OPIIT BEFORE U GET THE FENTANYL PATCHES DONT PEOPLE ASK THEIR DOCTOR WHAT THIS MED WILL DO TO ME OR WERE THEY GET THERE MEDS IM SORRY FOR PEOPLES LOSSES BUT SMARTEN UP PEOPLE YOUR HURTING THE PEOPLE THAT NEED THESES PATCHES USE YOUR BRAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. Judy Reply

    I was prescribed the Fentanyl patch earlier this year. I was on opiate medication before this, but, after reading so many stories, I was afraid to take it. Then one day, I was in so much pain, I decided to use the patch. I had the patch on for 3 hours, then end up taking it off. I am just so afraid of the patch. One reason is, I have a sensitivity to a lot of medications. I also need to take hot baths for my pain and knees. So if I get over heated, too much gel would be released.
    I cry everyday because of the pain. I have hydrocodone 10/325, 1 pill 3 times a day. I very seldom use them because they bother my stomach and 1 pill doesn’t gives me very little relief. I usually use Tramadol 50 mg x2 every six hours. But I need to increase the dosage for better relief of pain. I think you can only take 300 or 400 mg a day.
    I can’t take Lryica because the meds mess with my vision and I can’t read anything close up. I can see why people commit suicide when your in this kind of pain everyday. Fortunately, I do have a doctor who tries to work with me and understands my concern with the patch. I’ve found more relief smoking pot than the pain pills. Wish we lived in a state where it was legal. I don’t take pills and smoke. But that’s not cheap either when you have a tight budget. I’m sorry you lost your wife Derrick. That has to be so hard on you and your four children, to lose your wife and mother of your children. I can’t imagine what your going through.
    Oh, to have a life without pain! People think you look normal, so you must be imagining the pain, especially 50 and under. Someday, they may have the same pain and realize, it’s not in our head. My head is probably the only part of my body that doesn’t hurt. Lol and, that’s coming from someone who use to have chronic migraines. My kids use to say, just go out of the house, work in the yard, read a book…..don’t sit in a dark bedroom, no tv, etc. well when you have a migraine, the last thing you want is sunlight or noise. Oh yeah, I prefer the dark, pain to verses doing something fun. Funny, three out of my four children, get migraines now. I joke with them and said, that’s what you get for giving me a hard time when I had them. Karma is a bitch, lol.
    Any other suggestions on what can be safe to take for chronic pain?
    Blessings for all of you suffering with pain everyday ~ NOT fun. :-(

  14. Jamie Reply

    Brian, why are you telling people to smarten up?? If a nurse puts a fentanyl patch on YOU AFTER SURGERY AND THEN YOU GO HOME AND YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO REMOVE IT WITHIN 48 HOURS, EXCUSE ME 72 HOURS HOW IS IT THE PATIENT’S FAULT? IS THE PATIENT SUPPOSED TO USE THEIR BRAIN AFTER THEY ARE DEAD? COME ON NOW!!! GET A CLUE BRIAN!!

    You Can misuse these patches by eating, smoking as well as shooting them up. There are always people out there who will find ways to use drugs In ways they are not prescribed for. They’re called drug addicts or in some circumstances a person’s pain is so substantial that they’re trying to find any way to take care of it and keep their lives. Some people are suicidal because their pain is so intolerable. Very sad that it has come down to this for so many. I wish they would make a drug that’s five times stronger than morphine. I’ve been trying To wean myself off and it is hell!!

  15. Angelina Reply

    Ok ppl wake up!I feel bad 4 those of u that r suffuring with severe daily pain,but do u think after yrs of using this what u might think 2 ba miracle drug,addictive personality or not!U r hooked,U r scared!What if u went 2 ur Doc today and he took u off?My Mother was on fentanyl patches made by Mylan 4 15 + yrs.I found her dead on her floor of her apt on January 17th 2013.She was 59 yrs old.She would not atmit like the rest of u that these patches had turned her into a walking Zombie!While going through her possessions my father came across a note from a commercial (Its my time 2 stop)with the phone number 2 try 2 get off!I am not meaning 2 critisize anyone of u!U r blinded .A Doctor gives u meds.Of course u want out of pain.But weigh ur options,ask questions.U r n worse shape then the Herion addict that I am sure most of u would Judge!!Ur life resolves around this

  16. Angelina Reply

    Hey Brian not all were perscribed M.s contin first.And if u were n enough pain and niave u would think Doctor knows best.So known of us know everything.I want this off the Market!Noone needs meds 100x’s more potenent then Herion!Maybe someone dieing!My Mothervwas taken from Darvocet 2 Fentanyl!Does this sound right 2 anyone?As 4 I am sorry can’t find ur name now!Hot weather is a def no no ,It def will cause 2 release more then it should.Good luck everyonevof u!!!!!Sorry 4 ur loose along with my family!I will not stop fighting until there is more awareness made!Get rid of this horrible drug!There r alternatives Thanks 4 reading!Would love any replys!Got Coroners Report yesterday,Not reading until I am with a Counselor!

  17. Wendy Reply

    I have been on fentanyl for 12 years and am so grateful for the life I have. Before, I spent most if my time in so much agony from end stage osteoarthritis in my knees (a knee replacement is not an option in my case due to serious issues with wound healing and a 4 year old case of MRSA that refuses to go away.). Now I can travel, care for my family, attend college full-time and earn a 4.0 each semester and also have a very active social life. I tried codeine and morphine based medications but they caused severe mood and mental issues along with hallucinations. With fentanyl I never feel high, but I do get a rush from the many, many things I can do now but was unable to before. I have been on 200 Mcg changed every 48 hours for almost 5 years. With this dose I rarely need anything else. When I do I find toradol injections, which are opiate free, get rid of all pain. My biggest fear is going back to my pre-patch life. The DEA told my family doctor he can’t prescribe this and that I need to get them from my orthopedic specialist. The specialist, who has treated me for 35 years was told he can only prescribe 3 months of C-2 medicines for a patient. The few pain management doctors in our area are for the most part so afraid of the DEA they are switching to interventional medicine, using nerve blocks and steroids. Many of the offices now have signs stating “we do not prescribe narcotics.” I will run out of medication two weeks before final exams. I refuse to ask my physicians for another prescription because I do not want to risk their careers. I have asked for advice on handling withdrawal and have scheduled appointments with my instructors to explain the situation and try to take my exams early. I am trying to find a surgeon willing to attempt a knee replacement even though every surgery I have had in the last 23 years has ended with resistant staph Infections. Most of my surgeries have been to remove infected tissue. I have been on high doses of bicillin for 4 years and still have staph. Sometimes even the adhesive from my patches irritates my skin to the point where I get an infection. My infectious disease doctor wants me to change them every day to reduce my infection risk but insurance and my good friends at the DEA will not allow this. I have followed every guideline and rule. I had one do for who wrote all of my prescriptions. On the rare event I got a prescription from someone else I took a copy to my usual doctor and had it placed in my records. I have 1 pharmacist who fills all of my prescriptions and I keep photocopies of the labels of every prescription, have a journal that details each medicine I take, when it was taken and in the event of a problem, such as a patch falling off, notate what happened, when it happened and what I did about it. I have tried to be the model of a compliant patient, but thanks to people who abuse prescription medications I am now a victim of our nation’s war on drugs. Unlike the legal system, it is far better for one million patients to stay in severe and totally disabling pain than for one person to get medication they do not need. I have two do toes trying hard to find a pain management doctor for me but now I am preparing for an existence that has little living in it. I love the life I have now and feel bitter that the country I live in, the one that claims to be a model of freedom and human rights and promises everyone the right to pursue happiness thinks I am better off in bed, unable to do anything. This is not the American Dream, it is increasingly becoming the American Nightmare. I wonder how long I manage to hold on to the misery that is soon coming, before I accidentally take too much insulin and silently move on to whatever awaits us when we leave our mortal bodies? At least I know I have an easy, neat and pain free alternative that won’t cause a scandal. Better that than to become the criminal the government already treats us like than to turn to street drugs out of desperation to end the pain.

  18. Paula Reply

    My husband died from Fentanyl toxicity but the patch was made by Mylan and the lawyers from Dallas said that I couldn\’t bring a lawsuit because it was a generic drug company. Can anybody give me the name of a lawyer that will deal with the Mylan company.

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