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Darvocet in Early Pregnancy

In November 2010, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) withdrew all medications that contain propoxyphene from the market. It has been determined that the risks of propoxyphene outweigh the possible benefits. In particular, the FDA was concerned about the drug's ability to cause serious changes in the heart rhythm, even at normal doses. Pharmacies will no longer sell this medication, and people who take it should stop and ask their healthcare provider for a more suitable pain medication.
Darvocet® (propoxyphene/acetaminophen) is a prescription pain medicine that contains a narcotic. Based on reports of rare problems in humans, it is generally not recommended to take Darvocet in early pregnancy.
Various birth defects have been reported possibly due to Darvocet, but it is impossible to tell for sure if these problems were actually caused by Darvocet, other medications that were taken, or simply coincidence. One study suggests a possible link between Darvocet and the following birth defects:
  • Microcephaly (abnormally small head)
  • Cataracts
  • Non-cancerous tumors
  • Clubfoot
  • Patent ductus arteriosus (a heart defect).
Other studies are necessary to confirm these findings before it can be said with certainty that Darvocet actually causes these problems. As is usually the case, it is assumed that the risk for birth defects due to Darvocet is greatest when the medication is taken early in pregnancy.
(Click Darvocet and Pregnancy to learn more about the potential dangers of using Darvocet in early pregnancy and to find out which pregnancy category rating this drug belongs to.)
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