Thursday, September 06, 2007

Coroner investigates high-risk painkiller

From the Globe and Mail:
Ontario's chief coroner is investigating the deaths of three patients who appear to have overdosed on pain medication that was administered using a stick-on patch. And at least three more deaths in B.C. have been linked to the same drug.

The news is drawing attention to the dangers of fentanyl patches, which have been growing in popularity despite repeated warnings from health regulators that they should not be used indiscriminately.

David U, president and chief executive officer of the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, said the painkiller patch is a good drug and a convenient alternative to the pills, injections and pumps often relied upon by chronic pain sufferers, but fentanyl patches are being widely misused.

"These cases are preventable," he said of the deaths and the dozens of reports of illness among patients using fentanyl patches in Canada. ...more

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