The potent painkiller, Fentora, has been cited as the cause of four deaths, the manufacturer has announced. Cephalon has been producing the drug for the prescription market for a little under a year as a painkiller for patients suffering from cancer. But three of the four deaths have been linked to inappropriate, off-label prescriptions.
Many drugs are often marketed and prescribed off-label by healthcare professionals, meaning they are used to treat an ailment beyond their approved purpose. This has led to doctors and drug companies to find more than one effective use for some medications. Others, such as Fentora, are so powerful that they may have potentially dangerous effects when prescribed off-label.
Two out of four of the patients who died from Fentora were given the drug to treat headaches. Another one of the four did not obtain the medication through a doctor’s prescription. Fentora is approved for use in patients who are suffering from acute cancer pain and do not respond to round-the-clock opiate therapy.