When painkillers, such as morphine, fail to provide relief, especially to cancer patients suffering from late-stage breakthrough cancer pain, oncologists start prescribing fentanyl, a very powerful synthetic opioid painkiller that is 80 to 100 times stronger than morphine.
Different fentanyl-containing medications have already been prescribed to millions of cancer patients in the U.S., including the skin patch Duragesic, the lozenge Actiq,the sublingual tablet Abstral, Fentora, which is a a tablet that goes between the gum and the cheek, and Subsys, a sublingual spray which is also the latest to be introduced in market.
Like all other fentanyl-based drugs, Subsys was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) specifically for the use of cancer patients who have developed a tolerance for opioid drugs due to regular use. However, being a powerful opioid (narcotic) pain medicine, which is also powerfully addictive, Subsys is considered a federally controlled substance (CII) due to the high possibility of it being misused, especially by those who abuse prescription medicines or illegal drugs.
It its Medication Guide, some of the warnings made with regard to the use of Subsys say:
It should not be taken by anyone who is not opioid tolerant;
It should be used by a patient exactly according to a healthcare provider’s instructions;
It should never be given to a child or anyone else, even to another cancer patient who has not been prescribed with this drug since it may harm or even kill them;
It should never be used to treat short-term pain, such as pain due to dental problems, pain after surgery and migraine; and,
Use of this highly potent drug can cause life-threatening breathing problems which can lead to death.
Though one of the biggest selling highly addictive painkillers in the U.S. today, Subsys has been included in the “drugs of concern” list of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Inspector General office.
Besides this, Subsys drugmaker Insys Therapeutics, Inc. is also facing lawsuits due to its aggressive marketing of said drug for off-label use or non-approved treatments. Patients or families of patients, who have been severely harmed by this drug, have also filed lawsuits to pursue compensation which they may be found eligible to claim.
A Subsys lawsuit may be filed by anyone who has been inappropriately prescribed and harmed by this powerful opioid medication that can cause serious or potentially fatal effects. Consulting with a highly-skilled personal injury lawyer, who can help determine the best legal action to take, should be the first step to this legal pursuit.