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), a pain medicine, is specifically approved to treat mild-to-moderate pain. It comes in tablet form and is typically taken every four hours as needed for pain. There are three different types of Darvocet, including:
The medication contains two active ingredients. Propoxyphene 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, 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 effects.
Most people appear to tolerate Darvocet well. As with any medication, however, side effects are possible. Some of the most common side effects that have been reported with Darvocet include vomiting, dizziness, nausea, and drowsiness.
(Click Darvocet to learn more about the effects of the pain medicine Darvocet, for more detailed dosing guidelines, and to find out what you should be aware of before starting this drug.)
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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