Primary Care Physician
Dr. Orrange received her BA in Biology at the University of California, San Diego, and a Masters Degree in Health Sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health. She received her MD from the USC Keck School of…
Pain Medications Darvocet and Darvon Pulled from the Market
Posted in Back Pain by Dr. Sharon Orrange on Dec 27, 2010
Many have asked questions about why a medication that has been around for over 35 years was voluntarily pulled from the market November 19, 2010.

Darvocet (propoxyphene and acetaminophen), is an opioid pain reliever used to treat mild to moderate pain. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requested that propoxyphene be withdrawn from the U.S. Market after receiving new clinical data showing that the drug puts patients at risk of potentially serious or even fatal heart abnormalities. These risks were present even at therapeutic doses which led the FDA to believe the risks outweigh the benefits. With a number of good alternatives on the market that do not possess the same potential for heart abnormalities, the drugs were pulled from the market.

Propoxyphene, as with other narcotic (opiate) analgesics, blocks pain perception in the cerebral cortex by binding to specific receptor molecules (opiate receptors). This binding inhibits the flow of pain sensations into the higher centers. Unfortunately, propoxyphene has also been shown to cause significant changes to the electrical activity of the heart which can increase the risk for serious abnormal heart rhythms.

Alternative pain management strategies other than propoxyphene need to be discussed with your physician. Hydrocodone (Vicodin, Norco, Lortab), Ultram, and Tylenol with codeine (Tylenol #3) remain good options.

Darvocet and Darvon have been around forever but this decision makes sense for two reasons: the new evidence of the potential for electrical abnormalities in the heart, and the fact that there are many better, safer options for pain control.

Dr O.

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I wish I knew this information on this drug about 11 years ago. My mom was taking this on a regular basis for back pain management and she had no signs of heart problems. She suddenly had a heart attack and died shortly after, I wish to God I had known this medicine was dangerous, it may have caused her death, she had been on it for years. I can't bring her back, but all you people taking this, please find out if you have any damage to your heart for taking this drug, especially if you have been on it for a long time.
By eastcoastphoto  Jan 06, 2011
Suzyscorp you are right about what darvocet is but darvon is just propxyphene not mixed with aspirin
By DrOrrange  Jan 01, 2011
I was on Darvocet for about ten years, off and on. I never took it
regularly, but b/c of bulging discs and disc degenerative disease,
I needed it when it flaired up. Also, I've been involved in approx
5 automobile accidents - all of them were NOT my fault in any way.
But, all in all, I did take a lot of Darvocet, prescribed by the same doctor, whenever I went to see him. I guess he was known as the "Darvocet Doctor!" I only found this out when I was in rehab, trying to get off of Darvocet, and I did. I haven't had a Darvocet
in a while, and feeling a lot better than I did when I was taking those deadly drugs! I have to wonder if there is going to be a class-action lawsuit aimed at the drug company that manufactures Darvocet and Darvon. Want to know what the difference is between the two? Darvocet has Acetaminophen (Tylenol), while Darvon is made with aspirin.
By SuzyScorp  Dec 29, 2010
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