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Darvocet (Propoxyphene) Alternatives, Side Effects, Withdrawal and FAQs

Darvocet (propoxyphene) was banned in 2010 as a dangerous combined opiate analgesic medication due to its cardio-toxic and other common fatal effects. Darvocet also contained Acetaminophen, which in toxic doses may cause circulatory failure and rapid, shallow breathing, and may lead to death.¹
Though the drug is no longer sold, Darvocet (propoxyphene) can give us better insights about how drugs are brought to market. It’s easy to perceive drug companies as standing by certain medications, even when they come under fire with thousands of active lawsuits. The most typical response to such complaints is to pay the lawsuits, add a warning on the “black box”, and carry on as usual.

But Darvocet did not exactly follow that pattern. It did take many accidental deaths, suicides, and injuries before the drug was pulled off the market.

Phrases like “cherry picking” in reference to reporting on clinical trial outcomes cast a dark shadow over the pharmaceutical industry as a whole, and we may still have reservations in some cases about drug safety. In any case, Darvocet gave us a chance to peer in a little more closely at how drugs are produced and marketed, and insights such as these can help make us all better and more vigilant researchers and consumers.¹

What Is Darvocet (Propoxyphene) Used for?

Approximately 10 million people were taking Darvocet in the treatment of mild to moderate pain and other conditions when it was banned from sale in the US in 2010. Those same patients were prescribed other medications instead, when Darvocet was banned.

Darvocet (Propoxyphene) Alternative Names and Slang

Darvocet, Darvocet –N50 and Darvocet-N100 were the US brand names for medications containing propoxyphene, or propoxyphene napsylate, the generic active drug.

Darvocet (Propoxyphene) Side Effects

Side effects ranged from mild to severe, with many associated health injuries and even reported deaths. From 2005 to 2010 in the US, approximately 2000 deaths were reportedly linked to Darvocet use.²

Some of the side effects included:

  • Respiratory depression
  • Accidental overdose
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Completed suicide
  • Blood pressure changes
  • Intracranial pressure and head injury
  • Fatal drug or food interactions, i.e. grapefruit juice, alcohol, other CNS depressants


Darvocet (Propoxyphene) Withdrawal Symptoms

Darvocet withdrawal symptoms included those typically associated with opiate cessation, including:

  • Restlessness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Perspiring
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Changes in respiratory rate
  • Anxiety
  • Back pain
  • Pain in joints
  • Muscle pain or cramping
  • Abdominal pain or cramping
  • Insomnia
  • Anorexia
  • Weakness
  • Mood swings
  • Irritability

Discontinuing/Quitting Darvocet (Propoxyphene)

Any medication can produce unwanted side effects, and may lead to the desire to discontinue use. It is important to gently taper rather than abruptly stop taking a medication. In general, a medication should be tapered rather than stopped all at once.

There are some exceptions, for instance, where the drug itself is causing a life-threatening event. In a clinical or hospital setting, the drug would be stopped but with ample medical support on hand to keep the patient alive and as comfortable as possible throughout the process.

Darvocet (Propoxyphene) FAQs

The following information may help in researching the history and other information on Darvocet. Understanding this drug better might help to understand other similar drugs and the way they are marketed, how clinical studies are done, and other topics.

When and Why was Darvocet (Propoxyphene) Discontinued/Banned?

Many deaths from intentional or accidental overdoses led to the drug ban in the UK in 2005, and in the US in 2010. An estimated 2000 deaths were linked to Darvocet in the US alone after it was banned in the UK. Toxic reactions led to certain heart conditions as well as kidney, liver, and other organs subject to injury from the drug.² ³

Treatment for Darvocet (Propoxyphene) Abuse and Addiction

The Alternative to Meds Center is a residential, inpatient facility that works with clients seeking help with addiction and mental health. Our Center strives to stay fully informed and updated on current news about drugs, drug trends, and pertinent information on health related subjects.

As we well know from history, sometimes a prescription drug can have serious adverse effects, and one may make the decision to come off the drug. The Alternative to Meds Center specializes in this area of medication cessation and recovery.

Our programs include investigative work to uncover what may have been causing or contributing to symptoms before medication was started. What would it feel like to know how to manage insomnia with diet, rather than with drugs, for example? What kind of relief would you feel if your anxiety could be reduced or eliminated completely after removing heavy metal toxicity? These are not miracles, but can seem like they are. The results of neurotoxin cleansing are remarkable, to say the least.

The Alternative to Meds Center provides a gentler taper process, if you are looking for a safe and comfortable facility for cessation of a medication. Our program provides significant health benefits through neurochemical replacement and normalization via holistic means. Please contact us for more information on the protocols we use and to find out more about how our methodologies focus on sustainable, natural, mental health.

This content has been reviewed and approved by a licensed physician.

Dr. Michael Loes, M.D.

Dr. Michael Loes is board-certified in Internal Medicine, Pain Management and Addiction Medicine. He holds a dual license in Homeopathic and Integrative Medicine. He obtained his medical doctorate at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, 1978. Dr. Loes performed an externship at the National Institute of Health for Psychopharmacology. Additionally, he is a well-published author including Arthritis: The Doctor’s Cure, The Aspirin Alternative, The Healing Response, and Spirit Driven Health: The Psalmist’s Guide for Recovery. He has been awarded the Minnesota Medical Foundation’s “Excellence in Research” Award.

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