The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) did not act to stop off-label prescribing for fast-acting fentanyl drugs, putting patients at high risk of accidental overdose and death, The New York Times reports.
The drugs are approved only for cancer patients with high opioid tolerance. They have been prescribed off-label, meaning for other purposes, to patients with back pain and migraines, the article notes. The drugs are quick-absorbing fentanyl sprays, tablets and lozenges that contain a narcotic up to 50 times stronger than heroin, and up to 100 times stronger than morphine. These drugs include Actiq, Fentora and Subsys.