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 narcotic medication commonly used for relieving mild-to-moderate pain. It is available by prescription and comes in three different strengths, including:
The medication comes in tablet form and is taken by mouth, typically every four hours as needed for pain. It is recommended to avoid drinking alcohol while taking Darvocet, as negative interactions could occur. You should never suddenly stop taking this drug, especially if you have taken it regularly for more than several weeks.
Darvocet has a significant potential for both psychological and physical dependence and abuse. In fact, it is classified as a controlled substance, meaning that there are special rules and regulations for prescribing and obtaining the medication. Because Darvocet can be a desirable drug of abuse, people often try to buy Darvocet through illegal means, such as from foreign countries or online sources that do not require a prescription.
(Click Darvocet for more information on when and how to take Darvocet-N 50, Darvocet-N 100, and Darvocet A500; to learn about how this medication works for pain relief; and to find out what side effects may occur with this medicine.)
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Propoxyphene: Withdrawal -- Risk of Cardiac Toxicity (11/19/2010). FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch/SafetyInformation/SafetyAlertsforHumanMedicalProducts/ucm234389.htm. November 19, 2010.
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