Leslie from the Malecare Advanced Prostate Cancer On-line Support Group made a post today warning us that there have been significant malfunctions in fentanyl patches. Fentanyl patches are used to control severe pain, especially in men with very progressed advanced prostate cancer.

According to the information posted some of these patches are malfunctioning causing accidental overdoses. Over dose symptoms include excessive sedation, respiratory distress, shallow breathing, fatigue, sleepiness, confusion, dizziness, or fainting, and death.

Leslie then went on and reported some research she performed. She found that the “malfunction” is that some of the patches accidentally “leak” fentanyl when they’re not supposed to, delivering more than the prescribed dosage of the patch at certain times, causing overdose.

Please be cautious! Anyone using fentanyl patches must be alert to this possibility.

The FDA recommends the following if a patch leaks or is damaged in any way:

“The FDA advised that anyone who comes in contact with fentanyl gel should thoroughly rinse exposed skin with large amounts of water only; soap should not be used”.

The agency said patches that may be damaged or compromised in any way should be flushed down the toilet, using caution not to handle them directly.

She also shared a quote from the CBS News that gave her a chuckle but also made her aware of the extent of the problem:

“For some reason, fentanyl patches get recalled once or twice a year. If they come up with an airplane called Fentanyl patch, don’t get on it.”

Some batches identified with problems have been voluntarily recalled by one manufacturer and posted by the FDA and are listed with control and lot numbers with expiration dates as late as 2012.

While I’d imagine any responsible pharmacy would have already taken those batches out of circulation and sent them back to the manufacturer, sometimes mistakes happen and things slip thru the cracks.

She also forward a few articles, some of which have the posted control/lot numbers.

Click here: Actavis Fentanyl Patch Recall: Risk of Overdose and Death – AboutLawsuits.com

Click here: Watson’s Fentanyl Patch Recall Is 6th So Far; Why Don’t Patches Work? – CBS News

Click here: Recalls, Market Withdrawals, & Safety Alerts > Actavis Inc. Issues a Voluntary Recall of 18 Lots of Fentanyl Trans

Click here: Medical News: Fentanyl Patch Recall Expanded – in Product Alert, Prescriptions from MedPage Today

Thank you Leslie.

Anyone wishing to join the Advanced Prostate Cancer Support Group can do so by going to:

Joel T. Nowak,M.A., M.S.W.