Darvocet is a prescription pain reliever licensed to treat mild to moderate pain. It contains two different medications: propoxyphene (which is classified as a mild, centrally-acting, narcotic pain reliever) and acetaminophen (which is a pain reliever and fever reducer commonly found in non-prescription drugs). It comes in tablet form and is usually taken every four hours as needed for pain.
What Is Darvocet?
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.
Brand-name Darvocet is made by Xanodyne Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Generic versions are made by various manufacturers.
How Does Darvocet Work?
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 the drug 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.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed December 24, 2008.
Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation. 8th ed. Philadelphia (PA): Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2008.
National Library of Medicine (US). Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMED). NLM Web site. Available at: http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?LACT. Accessed date.
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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