Mild to moderate pain can often be relieved by taking Darvon. This prescription medication works in the brain and spinal cord, rather than at the site of the pain. Because it is a fairly weak narcotic and is extremely dangerous if too much is taken, Darvon is not typically a healthcare provider's first choice of pain medication. There are no off-label uses for Darvon.
What Is Darvon Used For?
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.
Darvon can be given for both short-term pain (such as after a surgery or dental procedure) or for long-term pain control. Because it is considered a fairly weak narcotic (and because it is especially dangerous in the case of an overdose), Darvon is rarely the first choice of most healthcare providers.
However, Darvon can be useful in certain individuals, such as for people who cannot take acetaminophen (as many narcotics come in combination with acetaminophen) or for those who have been taking the drug for quite a while (and have responded well to it).
How Does Darvon Work?
Darvon is classified as a centrally acting narcotic pain reliever. "Centrally acting" means that it works in the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord), rather than directly at the site of the pain.
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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