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Propoxyphene Side Effects

If you are taking propoxyphene and develop potentially serious side effects, such as seizures, hallucinations, or difficulty breathing, contact your healthcare provider right away. In most cases, however, people tolerate this pain reliever well; if reactions do occur, they are usually easy to treat. Other possible side effects may include dizziness, nausea, and vomiting.

An Introduction to Propoxyphene Side Effects

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.
As with any medicine, propoxyphene (Darvon®, Darvon-N®) can cause side effects. However, not everyone who uses the medication will have problems. In fact, most people tolerate it quite well. If side effects do occur, in most cases, they are minor and either require no treatment or are treated easily by you or your healthcare provider. However, serious reactions have also been known to occur.
(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects with propoxyphene. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list with you.)

Serious Side Effects of Propoxyphene

Some side effects with propoxyphene are potentially serious and should be reported immediately to your healthcare provider. These include but are not limited to:
  • Signs of liver damage, such as:
    • Yellowing of the whites of the eyes or skin (jaundice)
    • Dark urine
    • Upper-right abdominal pain (stomach pain)
  • Hallucinations
  • Confusion
  • Seizures
  • Slow or irregular breathing
  • Unexplained, unpleasant feelings (dysphoria) or unexplained, pleasant feelings (euphoria)
  • The urge to take more propoxyphene than prescribed or for a non-medical purpose
  • Low blood pressure (hypotension)
  • An irregular heart rhythm (arrhythmia)
  • Signs of an allergic reaction, such as:
    • An unexplained rash
    • Itching
    • Hives
    • Swelling of the mouth or throat
    • Wheezing
    • Difficulty breathing.
Additionally, an overdose with propoxyphene can be lethal within a matter of minutes (see Darvon Overdose or Darvon-N Overdose for more information).
Alternative Therapies for Pain Management

Propoxyphene Drug Information

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