Death Related to use of Fentanyl Patches

8 June 2016

The South Manchester Coroner and Greater Manchester Police have been looking into the death of an elderly female found deceased in her bath. It transpires that she wore a Matrifen (fentanyl) patch and the inquest revealed that toxicology showed an opiate overdose. The heat exacerbates the dose and in this case quite massively.

The patient information leaflet mentions Solariums and Whirlpool baths and other heat sources and the MHRA have reviewed the situation in 2008 and 2014 and I have contacted them again and they are aware from the yellow card scheme.

The Coroner has enquired with TEVA (Form 28 request) the manufacturer in this case but it applies to all Fentanyl patches and not just Matrifen.

*Please note: Exposure of the application site to other external heat sources (e.g. sun lamps, electric blankets, saunas etc.) and if the patient develops a fever, this can increase absorption of the drug from the patch resulting in increased plasma concentrations of fentanyl and buprenorphine and increased risk of opioid toxicity.

Patients should be alerted to these risks before starting treatment.