Is the Arthritis Painkiller Darvocet Really Dangerous?
Darvocet is a popular medication prescribed to relieve arthritis pain. Darvocet is a combination of acetaminophen and propoxyphene. According to Public Citizen, a National Non-Profit Public Interest Organization, "Darvocet, Darvon, and all medications that contain propoxyphene should be withdrawn from the market". The organization has actually sued the FDA because it failed to act on a petition submitted February 28, 2006. In that petition, Public Citizen stated that propoxyphene:
* is physically and psychologically addictive
* is no more effective than safer alternatives
* has been associated with more than 2,000 accidental deaths in the U.S. since 1981
Propoxyphene was one of the 25 most prescribed generic drugs last year. There were 22 million prescriptions for propoxyphene filled in 2007. According to Public Citizen, "A large proportion of the deaths from propoxyphene occurred because most of the drug is converted into a metabolite that is highly toxic to the heart, lasts longer in the body than the original compound and results in cardiac depression. Adverse cardiac events associated with propoxyphene include an interruption of heart transmission of electrical impulses, slowed heartbeats and a decreased ability of the heart to contract properly." Public Citizen’s book, “Worst Pills, Best Pills,” has listed propoxyphene as a DO NOT USE drug since its first edition in 1988. Public Citizen states in its complaint that darvocet is a relatively ineffective painkiller -- and the pain relief is comparable to ibuprofen.
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I seem to be getting all the grim news about RA coming across my RSS feeder. I spent a lot of time on Darvocet when I was first diagnosed. I guess a 17 year old doesn't have to worry as much about cardiac arrest. Interesting news though.