Darvocet (Acetaminophen and Propoxyphene), made by Eli Lilly, is in a class of drugs called narcotic analgesics or opioids and are prescribed to reduce pain, such as chronic arthritis. Research groups have began linking Darvon with thousands of deaths each year. As a result, Health Research Group and Public Citizen both have demanded a federal ban on the drug.

Public Citizen’s petition cited 2,110 accidental deaths linked to the drug from 1981 to 1999 and suggested that three times as many may have died. The drug is said to be a risky pain reliever due to the way it breaks down during metabolism, producing norpropoxyphene (NPX). NPX lasts longer in the blood than its parent compound and is extremely toxic. Use of the drug can lead to heart problems and can also damage the nervous system, resulting in falls.

Despite this, the FDA has not recalled the drug. The pressure is on however as this pain reliever is being blamed for more than 2,000 deaths. Certain limitations have been placed on how and when the drug should be taken. Research shows that Darvocet is almost the same in relieving pain as aspirin but its side effects could be deadly.

Side Effects of Darvocet include suicidal overdose, severe respiratory depression, addiction, addiction-related withdrawal symptoms, and risk of death when taken in large doses or in combination with other prescription drugs or alcohol.

Darvocet, and related Propoxyphene drugs are restricted in the United Kingdom, Sweden, and Ireland. Research from 1992-1999 indicated hundreds of deaths each year linked to Propoxyphene poisoning in Sweden alone. HealthCanada states that Propoxyphene is not recommended for the long- term treatment of chronic pain and it is not recommended for elderly patients.

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