Darvocet (dextropropoxyphene) was introduced to the pharmaceutical market by Eli Lilly and Company in 1953 and was used as an analgesic, anti-tussive and anesthetic for twenty-five years before coming under fire in 1978 by consumer groups that said the drug was associated with suicide. Darvocet was not removed from the market, but Eli Lilly and Company fought against doctors, pharmacists, and users to defend the drug as safe when used in proper doses and not mixed with alcohol. On November 19, 2010, the FDA requested the discontinuation of all sale of Darvocet due to heart arrhythmia in patients who took it. It is also thought that Darvoct is involved in combined drug intoxication because it may lead to confusion in patients. Many doctors now use tramadol because it is considered to be a safer alternative medication.
Darvocet, a combination of propoxyphene and acetaminophen, is a narcotic pain reliever and analgesic opioid, as well as an anti-tussive and anesthetic medication, commonly used to treat patients suffering from a wide range of symptoms, including mild to acute pain, diarrhea, and restless leg syndrome. Darvocet is listed as a Schedule II drug by the United States DEA.
As a narcotic pain reliever and analgesic opioid, Darvocet is used to treat mild to acute pain, diarrhea, and restless leg syndrome. It is also used to ease withdrawal symptoms in people addicted to opioids. Darvocet comes in tablet form.
Darvocet induces mild sedation, analgesia and sleepiness. The drug may cause allergic reaction in some users, with symptoms including hives, difficulty breathing, and swelling of the faces, lips, tongue and throat. Other side effects include shallow breathing, slow heart rate, chest pain; confusion, unusual thoughts or behavior, seizures; nausea, stomach pain, loss of appetite; itching, dark urine, clay-colored stool, and jaundice. Other less serious side effects include dizziness, drowsiness, nausea; vomiting, constipation, headache, blurred vision, and dry mouth.
Drugs that induce similar effects to those of Darvocet include:
Tolerance to Darvocet develops quickly, even in therapeutic doses. The drug builds up in the individual’s body, causing a desire and need to take more and more of the medication to achieve the same pain relief. Signs of Darvocet addiction include an intense craving for the drug, preoccupation with getting the drug and consuming it, continued use despite negative consequences, and the onset of withdrawal symptoms.
Symptoms associated with Darvocet withdrawal include:
- Physical craving
- Aches and pains
- Abnormal skin sensations such as “crawling” skin
- Restless legs syndrome.
Darvocet use comes with the risk of overdose, and is broken down into two categories, liver toxicity and dextropropoxyphene overdose. A Darvocet overdose may lead to various systemic effects including central nervous system depression, respiratory depression, miosis, and gastrointestinal effects. Other symptoms of a Darvocet overdose include severe drowsiness, coma, seizures; shallow breathing, blue skin, arrhythmia, and death.