Opiate abuse has been going on for centuries as pharmaceutical companies keep developing opiate derived drugs that are most effective against pain of the server nature.
Fentora is part of the opioid pain reliever (OPR) family of prescriptions. This prescription drug can only be prescribed by a doctor strictly for cancer patients. Fentora, like other opiate derived substances, effects the central nervous system that regulates pain perception regarding cancer treatments like chemotherapy.
Inevitably any drug created can also be abused and even though this drug is strictly regulated, an addict may get ahold of this certain type of opioid. With this said, why in the world would you prescribe an extremely strong pain medication special designed for cancer to those who are experiencing headaches?
According to the Cephalon, a pharmaceutical company, some of patients that have been prescribed this medication who do not have cancer have died. According to the article, Fentora Cancer Pain Drug Linked To Deaths, Cephalon suggests that “improper patient selection (e.g., use in opioid non-tolerant patients), improper dosing, and/or improper product substitution” is at fault for these unfortunate events. The patients who died did not meet the qualifications for Fentora and that this drug should be for cancer patients who are tolerant to opioid pain management for their life threatening disease.
Associated Press (AP) documented the deaths associated with this OPR, the two patients who died had been prescribed Fentora for headache treatment, a third patient died due to inaccurate dosage and the fourth case used the medication for suicide. None of the people who died were cancer patients!
To make sure that there is no longer any misunderstanding about Fentora’s purpose, Cephalon has sent out a nationwide Dear Doctor and a Dear Healthcare Professional letter about the safe use of its cancer pain drug Fentora.
The letters remind doctors and healthcare professionals that:
- Fentora must only be prescribed to cancer patients who are “routinely taking around-the-clock opioids”.
- The patient must have previous medical history with opioid pain management for persistent underlying cancer pain.
- The patient must have a tolerance to opioids before receiving Fentora as this medication is 5 times stronger than anything on the market.
- Fentora should not be used for pain management treatment for: acute pain, postoperative pain, headache/migraine, or sports injuries.
- Patients who do qualify for this medication should take no more than one tablet per episode once a proper dosage is established.
Since the physicians who did not read about the restrictions regarding prescribing Fentora the first time, the letter continues to explain that the active ingredient fentanyl, a Schedule II controlled substance, has a high potential for abuse and overdose because of strength of the drug and can lead respiratory depression and, of course, death.
Do we play the blame game?
Forgive my soap box, but doctors spend 10 years or more of their life to become a family trusted physician, the person regular ‘Joes’ go to for advice and treatment, they become the sole individual a mother would trust the care of their child to. Why in the world would a doctor prescribe a cancer pain management drug to people who have headaches?
These drugs are not antibiotics that are prescribed to those with a runny nose. These are opiate derived pills that sedate and interrupt pain reception, not some aspirin found at a local grocery store. It does not take a medical degree and 5 + years of mentorship to understand that opium derived medications that are strictly designed for cancer should not be prescribed for headaches.
Furthermore, pharmaceutical companies should not have to send reminder letters to practicing physicians to re-educate them on the restrictions of their drugs after improper use has claimed lives. I trust in my doctor to be educated about the prescriptions they write me as it is their job to be wise about the finer details of their job responsibilities.
Now that I step off of my soap box, I ask you to step up on yours. Comment, like, share! Voice your opinion because I think it matters.