Darvocet and Darvon

Modified: 22nd Jul 2019

If you suffer from extreme pain, your doctor may prescribe pain relievers to help you manage your pain.

A popular pill that has been prescribed since the 1950s is Darvocet. Darvocet is a combination of propoxyphene and acetaminophen, two powerful pain relievers.

The name brand Darvocet is no longer available in the U.S., Canada, U.K., and throughout Europe. Another version, Darvon, is also banned.

They were banned for safety reasons; even in low and moderate doses, propoxyphene is dangerous. They are still sold illegally.

For more information about Darvocet and Darvon, continue reading and find out all of the dangers.

What Are Darvocet and Darvon?

Darvocet and Darvon are two different painkillers. Both have the same active ingredient, propoxyphene. Here’s a briefing of both pills.

Definitions

Darvocet

Darvocet is a painkiller comprised of propoxyphene napsylate and acetaminophen. Its strength comes from propoxyphene. Propoxyphene is a narcotic pain reliever.

Even though it’s weaker than other pain relievers, such as morphine and hydrocodone, the name brand Darvocet is banned. Darvocet caused heart problems in healthy patients taking the medication as prescribed.

The problem lies in the propoxyphene and acetaminophen combination. Both ingredients are safe on their own but cause a myriad of problems when combined.

Between 1,000 and 2,000 patients died while taking Darvocet. This death count is even higher than other strong painkillers such as opiates.

Since propoxyphene is a habit-forming substance, many patients were already hooked on the medication when the FDA banned it in 2010. This caused many patients to suffer from harmful withdrawal symptoms.

Unfortunately, the addiction still occurs today. Many patients can still purchase Darvocet illegally.

Darvon

Darvon is slightly different than Darvocet. Darvon contains a different form of propoxyphene, propoxyphene hydrochloride. Darvon is also not made with acetaminophen.

But Darvon has the same dangerous side effects of Darvocet and was also banned in 2010.

How Are They Taken?

Both medications are taken orally.

Doctors would typically prescribe a 65 mg tablet every four hours. In severe cases, the patient can take two pills per dose. The maximum dose is six tablets a day.

Who Takes Them?

Doctors prescribed both pills to patients who suffer from pain. Both pills contain narcotic pain relievers and relieve mild to moderate pain.

Since both pills were taken off the market, the people who consume both pills do so recreationally. Some still suffer from pain and can’t get a prescription from their doctor.

Even though Darvocet and Darvon came with dangerous side effects, many patients liked these medications because they were powerful and didn’t cause any allergies.

Since propoxyphene isn’t as powerful as other opioids, recreational use isn’t as common but users can still get addicted to the pills. This is why most illegal consumers buy them to assist with their pain.

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A Brief History of Darvocet and Darvon

Both Darvocet and Darvon have a long history, dating back to the 1950s. These were the painkillers most doctors would prescribe until they banned them in 2010.

Darvocet was a product of propoxyphene. Propoxyphene was discovered in 1957 by Eli Lilly & Company. Propoxyphene has a similar structure to codeine and morphine. It was combined with acetaminophen and was sold under the brand name Darvocet.

However, the Public Citizen called for its ban as early as 1978. The FDA rejected this request. After more research linked moderate doses of Darvocet to heart palpitations, the Public Citizen put in another ban request in 2006.

Since Darvocet was banned in the U.K. in 2004 and the EU banned it in 2009, the FDA went ahead and banned Darvocet in 2010.

Darvon has a very similar history to Darvocet. Because Darvon contains propoxyphene, pharmaceuticals made a propoxyphene pill option that doesn’t contain acetaminophen and released Darvon around the same time as Darvocet.

The Public Citizen’s request and FDA ban applied to all medications containing propoxyphene. This led to banning Darvon and all propoxyphene generic medications as well as Darvocet.

Consequences of Darvocet and Darvon Abuse

Both Darvocet and Darvon come with a long list of harmful side effects. Let’s take a closer look at both.

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Short-Term and Long-Term Health Effects of Darvocet

The most common and dangerous Darvocet side effect is the heart palpitations that led to its ban. But the painkiller came with other dangerous side effects. These were:

  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Blurry vision
  • Headaches
  • Sedation
  • Dry mouth
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Drowsiness
  • Upset stomach
  • Constipation

Most patients describe a feeling of euphoria when taking Darvocet. That’s because Darvocet releases endorphins, which induces feelings of pleasure. This is another catalyst for addiction.

Short-Term and Long-Term Health Effects of Darvon

It’s also common to experience dangerous side effects from Darvon. Here’s a list of the most common health effects:

  • Sedation
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Constipation
  • Lightheadedness
  • Rashes
  • Weakness
  • Headache
  • Dysphoria
  • Euphoria
  • Visual disturbances
  • Hallucinations
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Respiratory arrest
  • Coma
  • Convulsions
  • Death
  • Diarrhea
  • Confusion
  • Gastrointestinal disorder
  • Eye disorders
  • Immune system disorder
  • Hepatobiliary disorder
  • Liver dysfunction
  • Nervous system disorder

Like Darvocet, Darvon has a high risk of addiction.

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Using Darvocet or Darvon With Other Drugs

Both Darvocet and Darvon have similar drug interactions, thanks to the main ingredient propoxyphene. Patients were instructed to not drink alcohol while taking the medication.

Which Drugs Are Commonly Used With Darvocet and Darvon?

Along with alcohol, propoxyphene interacts with CYP3A4 inhibitors, anti-depressants, other opioid painkillers, Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs), and warfarin-like agents.

There are drugs that interact with Darvocet because of the acetaminophen. This includes Cymbalta, aspirin, Lexapro, Flexeril, Synthroid, Lyrica, Xanax, and Tramadol.

Since Darvon and Darvocet are taken illegally, most users mix them with other opioids and hard drugs such as heroin. This is to help relieve pain and increase the euphoric effects.

Treating Darvocet or Darvon Addiction

Darvocet and Darvon both contain the dangerous ingredient propoxyphene, which is highly addictive and puts users at risk for heart palpitations and other harmful side effects.

Are you addicted to Darvocet and Darvon? You’ll need to recover from your addiction to treat your withdrawal symptoms and prevent dangerous side effects.

You have different treatment options. Take a look at our painkiller information.

Article Reviewed by Dr. Keerthy Sunder, MD, DFAPA

Dr. Keerthy Sunder, MD, DFAPADr. Keerthy Sunder, MD is an accomplished and internationally recognized expert in the field of addiction. He has earned diplomates from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, the American Board of Addiction Medicine, and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.