Darvocet is a medication that is used for treating mild to moderate pain, with or without a fever. It is a prescription medication that contains acetaminophen (commonly found in over-the-counter drugs) and propoxyphene (a narcotic pain reliever). At this time, this medicine is only approved for use in people over the age of 12. There are currently no universally accepted off-label uses for Darvocet.
Darvocet® (propoxyphene/acetaminophen) is a prescription medication used to treat mild-to-moderate pain, with or without a fever. It contains two different medications, acetaminophen (Tylenol®) and propoxyphene napsylate (Darvon-N®).
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 is used both for short-term pain (such as after a surgery or dental procedure) or for long-term pain control. Because it contains a narcotic, many healthcare providers like to limit Darvocet use to the shortest period of time possible (see Darvocet Addiction for more information).
Propoxyphene (one of the active ingredients in Darvocet) is classified as a mild, centrally-acting, narcotic pain reliever. "Centrally-acting" means that it works in the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord). Propoxyphene is chemically related to methadone.
The other active ingredient in Darvocet is acetaminophen (commonly known as "APAP"). It is a pain reliever and fever reducer commonly found in non-prescription medications such as Tylenol. Adding acetaminophen to propoxyphene increases the effectiveness for relieving pain and also provides fever-reducing properties.