Pharmaceutical

Another J&J patch causing deaths in users

Drug maker Johnson & Johnson is recalling another one of its patches, the Duragesic fentanyl pain patch. According to BNet Business Network, the fentanyl patch is highly addictive and has been linked to deaths caused by the patches to leak too much medicine into the body.

This is the fifth recall of Duragesic fentanyl patch since 1994. Patches have caused much pain for Johnson & Johnson. Last year, the company paid $68 million to settle lawsuits against the company’s birth control patch, Ortho Evra. The patch was linked to at least 40 deaths caused by blood clots.

Ortho Evra was originally marketed to women seeking an alternative to a one-daily birth control pill. The patch system was designed to deliver the same level of estrogen as the birth control pill, but its delivery system was different. Pills are taken orally and are processed through the liver before reaching the blood stream. The medication on the patch is applied directly to the skin and is not diffused by the body before reaching the blood stream. In contrast to the birth control pill, the patch delivers 60 percent more estrogen to the patch-wearer’s blood system. And that, according to the numerous lawsuits filed, is where the problems begin.

Despite an emerging pattern of young women suffering from pulmonary embolisms and strokes, Johnson & Johnson continued to market the patch, running advertisements that at times did not include warnings of serious, life-threatening side effects.

While Johnson & Johnson no longer markets Ortho Evra, the birth control patch is still available and has yet to be pulled from the market.