18/06/2024

HSSE WORLD

Health, Safety, Security and Environment

Legal Tides Turn: Suboxone and Oral Health Concerns

4 min read

Suboxone is a highly sought-after medicine for combating opioid dependency. It is notable for its ability to reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms, thereby decreasing an individual’s relapse tendencies.

However, in recent years, the drug’s side effects have overshadowed its rise. A growing number of Suboxone users have reported experiencing severe dental issues from prolonged use of Suboxone films, triggering a wave of lawsuits against the manufacturers.

This blog post discusses the latest developments in Suboxone lawsuits.

Suboxone

Suboxone: How it Works and How It’s Delivered

The drug comes in two forms: films that dissolve under the tongue (sublingual) and tablets. Similar to menthol strips, the films dissolve quickly, taking effect within 20-45 minutes.

As TorHoerman Law suggests, Suboxone works by mimicking and counteracting opioids with two key ingredients: naloxone, which blocks opioid effects (antagonist), and buprenorphine, which acts like an opioid (partial agonist).

This combination might seem counterintuitive, but it benefits the brain. Buprenorphine partially activates opioid receptors, reducing withdrawal symptoms without fully mimicking them.

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Side Effects and the Resulting Controversy

The film’s acidic formula is linked to serious dental complications like erosion and even tooth loss. Affected individuals may require extensive dental procedures. In many cases, these can include expensive and complex treatments like root canals and implants.

Beyond physical discomfort, dental issues can impact appearance and self-esteem, leading to potential mental health challenges. For former opioid dependents, the cost of dental care can add significant financial strain.

The Suboxone Lawsuit in Detail

Suboxone’s initial launch depicted a safe and effective medication, a belief held by both patients and prescribing doctors. However, this perception changed with the emergence of research connecting Suboxone use to alarming dental issues.

These findings sparked a flood of lawsuits from patients who claim they were never properly informed about the potential side effects on their teeth.

The heart of the Suboxone tooth decay lawsuit revolves around the principle of informed consent. Plaintiffs contend that the manufacturers failed to reveal the severity of potential dental harm, especially irreversible complications.

This alleged lack of openness about a crucial side effect breaches trust. It leaves patients feeling blindsided by the damage to their oral health. By hiding these known risks, plaintiffs argue that the manufacturers sought to maximize their financial gain at the cost of patient well-being.

A Story of Lost Hope

In this section, we will talk about a story shared with Drugwatch, that exemplifies the human cost concealed within the fight against opioid dependence.

Suboxone, initially presented as a beacon of hope, left D.S. (name changed) battling a new enemy—ravaged teeth and crippling self-consciousness. Years of Suboxone use, unbeknownst to her, resulted in extensive dental decay, leaving her with a fraction of her original smile.

The fear of social interaction, a cornerstone of her profession, underscores the profound impact on quality of life. D.S.’s experience serves as a stark reminder of the need for transparency and authenticity when dealing with the lives of people.

Her narrative transcends the physical pain. The emotional toll, manifested in depression and social withdrawal, exposes an intangible cost of Suboxone therapy.

Her story empowers patients battling substance dependence to become active participants in their treatment journey. It highlights the importance of demanding a thorough understanding of all options and their associated risks. Only then can patients make truly informed decisions about their path to recovery.

Landscape of Settlement Amounts

The legal landscape surrounding Suboxone is far from settled, but it has seen significant developments. Indivior Inc., the drug’s manufacturer, has faced a string of legal challenges.

In June 2023, they settled with 42 states for $102.5 million to address allegations of anticompetitive practices related to Suboxone. More recently, in October 2023, Indivior agreed to a hefty $385 million settlement to resolve lawsuits concerning their alleged monopoly control over Suboxone.

Indivior isn’t the only company facing legal repercussions. Reckitt Benckiser Group, another player in the Suboxone story, has also been entangled in legal battles.

The US Justice Department secured a substantial $1.4 billion settlement from them in July 2019, highlighting the severity of the allegations against both companies.

These settlements underscore the evolving legal and ethical considerations surrounding Suboxone, with the potential for further developments as the litigation progresses.

To conclude, the Suboxone story, beyond the legal battles and settlements, exposes a deeper concern: can innovation truly serve patients if shrouded in secrecy?

To envision a more humane approach, we need clinical trials that not only assess a drug’s effectiveness but also uncover hidden risks, both physical and emotional.

Imagine a future where patients are empowered partners, fully informed of all potential side effects. Finally, let’s consider open communication between patients, doctors, and researchers. By sharing stories and concerns, we can create a healthcare system where groundbreaking medicine prioritizes not just profit, but the well-being of the people it aims to help.

Read more: e-booksmanaging-health-and-safety-in-the-dental-practice-manual

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