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 medication that contains a narcotic and is classified as a controlled substance.
Controlled substances are drugs (both legal and illegal) that are listed in the Controlled Substances Act. These drugs have the potential to be abused and are subject to specific rules and regulations that are stricter, compared to medications that are not controlled substances. There are different levels or "schedules" of controlled substances, with Schedule I being the most addictive (and with no recognized medicinal purpose) and Schedule V being the least addictive.
With Darvocet, Schedule IV has been assigned. Examples of other Schedule IV drugs include many sleep medications (such as Ambien®) and anxiety medications (such as Xanax®). Although Darvocet is generally considered to be a relatively weak painkiller, it should not be viewed as a "harmless" drug.
(Click Is Darvocet a Narcotic? for more information about Darvocet's schedule and to learn more about whether this medication is a strong narcotic.)