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Duragesic Patch Abuse

Duragesic patch abuse is not uncommon. Designed to treat moderate to severe chronic pain, the Duragesic Pain Patch slowly releases fentanyl into a patient's blood stream over the course of a three day period. Because fentanyl is a highly addictive opiate that is 80 times stronger than morphine, it is no surprise that some patients become addicted to the patch and abuse its purpose.

In fact, because of the strength of pain medication in the patch (fentanyl transdermal system), the Drug Enforcement Administration has classified the Duragesic Pain Patch as Class II substance. This means that it carries a high potential for abuse and a risk for fatal overdose.

How is the Duragesic Pain Patch Abused?

The patch is available in four different strengths: 25 mg, 50 mg, 75 mg and 100 mcg/hour. Some patients who become addicted to fentanyl may fake their tolerance or pain level so their doctor will give them a higher dosage. In other cases, patients may even cut the patch open and ingest the fentanyl gel all at once. This can result in a fatal overdose, however since the patch contains a three-day dose.

On the streets, people buy and sell fentanyl under the following names:

  • apache
  • china girl
  • china white
  • dance fever
  • friend
  • goodfella
  • jackpot
  • murder 8
  • TNT
  • Tango
  • Cash

Duragesic Recall Based on Accidental Overdose

While people who abuse the pain patch are at a higher risk of a fatal overdose, it has been brought to the public's attention that even patients who do not abuse the patch may be at risk of having a fentanyl overdose. In fact, Johnson & Johnson recalled nearly 32 million Duragesic Pain Patches in February 2008 due to a manufacturing defect found in some of the patches that resulted in a higher release rate than intended.

The recalled patches carried an expiration date of December 2009. The 2008 Duragesic recall was not the first of its kind, however. In fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has already issued several warnings, alerting users and healthcare providers of the potential risk of accidental overdose associated with the patch.

For more information about fentanyl abuse, contact us.

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