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Understanding the Risks of Opioid Painkiller Use – Is Your Physician Putting You At Risk?

Connecticut Attorneys for Victims of Over Prescribed Opioid Painkillers

As a patient, you are prescribed opioid painkillers as a way to manage your pain symptoms. But, what you may not realize is that those same pain medications have symptoms similar to heroin. All too often, doctors jump to prescribing these medications without informing the patient of potential side-effects – which includes addiction.

Painkillers that contain opioids mimic your body’s natural pain management process. They activate ligands and receptors, which dull out the pain receptors in your body. They can also slow your breathing and make you feel warm. You may feel dizzy or hazy while using opioids and if you take too much, the results could be deadly.

Most physicians will prescribe opioids following surgical procedures or to help a patient in pain. These can include oxycodone, morphine, fentanyl, and other legal prescription drugs. While common, it is important that patients are aware of the risks – and make sure that the physician is not putting them at risk for side-effects.

Drug Company Liability

Most opioid pain medications will take anywhere from 10 to 90 minutes to take effect. Some require constant use to remain in the body and keep the pain low. If you were to skip a dose, you might notice it takes longer for the opioid to circulate; thus, you experience pain.

Some companies have tried to combat the issue of overdose by designing drugs that feature a “slow release” mechanism.  But, if these are abused (i.e., crushed, snorted or injected into the body), a person can take more than anticipated, which leads to an overdose.

Opioid drugs can be especially habit-forming. They trigger the brain’s pleasure and reward response, which then encourages a patient to continue using them – even when they no longer have physical pain.

In this instance, it is not usually the drug manufacturer that is liable. For them to be accountable for a person’s addiction, they would need to have created an addictive drug without giving proper warning, or the drug had some defect that they were aware of, but didn’t warn the public.

Who Is Responsible for Opioid Addictions?

In some cases, a physician can be held liable for a painkiller addiction, but this is only when the physician continues to prescribe without suggesting alternative treatments or making sure that the patient needs the medication. If a physician prescribes pain medications for a patient without error, and the patient abuses the drug or takes more than indicated, the physician is not liable.

Speak with a Malpractice Attorney Regarding Your Questions About Painkiller Addiction and Liability

If you are addicted to painkillers due to over-prescribing physicians, or if you suffered injury because of opioids, contact a medical malpractice attorney to have your claim assessed. Contact Berkowitz and Hanna LLC today to schedule a no-obligation case evaluation. Call 866-479-7909 or contact us online to get started with your malpractice claim.