What Is Propoxyphene?

Propoxyphene is the generic name for an Opioid pain reliever, OPR, that was most commonly sold as Darvon and Darvoct. Before 2010, it was often prescribed because it was weaker than Codeine, but still similarly suppressed coughing. However, the FDA determined that the side effects were too risky for the mild relief, and the drug was banned in that year. The exact process Propoxyphene triggered in the body is still unknown, and current research is limited since it has been pulled from the market.

Darvon and Darvocet Banned

Despite the pain-relieving effects being less potent than Codeine, Darvon was banned for its high risk of heart attacks. For reasons that can only be speculated at this point, Propoxyphene triggered abnormal electrical activity in the nervous system. It is unknown how or why Darvon and Darvocet were triggering heart disorders, but people who were taking either medication as prescribed were developing:

  • Arrhythmia
  • Bradycardia
  • Cardiac/respiratory arrest
  • Congestive arrest
  • Congestive heart failure (CHF)
  • Tachycardia
  • Myocardial infarction (MI)

After discovering the regular heart attacks patients were suffering from Darvon and Darvocet, the drugs were voluntarily taken off the market. Propoxyphene, however, is still dealt on the streets.

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Effects of Propoxyphene

Like other OPRs, Propoxyphene works by binding to the Opioid receptors in the brain. This is what gives Opioids their pain-relieving quality. In addition, Propoxyphene, much like Codeine, worked as a cough suppressant. It seemed perfect; a weaker alternative to Codeine that could just be prescribed for a cough then weaned off more easily than other Opioids. The dangers of Opioid addiction, however, are always present.

The Dangers of Propoxyphene Addiction and Withdrawal

Users Who Are Unable To Find Propoxyphene May Turn To Other Illicit Substances Or Unknown DrugsPropoxyphene, as with any Opioid, can be highly addictive no matter the potency. Despite it no longer being on the market, the people who used Propoxyphene in 2010 may still be battling addiction. If someone possesses a bottle of Propoxyphene, or Darvon or Darvocet, it can be a sign that they are obtaining it illegally. Symptoms of Propoxyphene abuse include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle pain
  • Confusion
  • Reported hallucinations
  • Skin rash and jaundice
  • Blurred vision
  • Headaches

While no longer regulated, Propoxyphene is still dealt illicitly for those who are looking for it. The dangers of heart disorders, however, are still present and can be more dangerous without a doctor’s guidance. Some who used Propoxyphene before the ban may have moved on to a more accessible and cheaper drug, such as Heroin.

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The Dangers of Looking for Illicit Propoxyphene

While Propoxyphene is no longer on the market and can’t be prescribed, it still has a presence on the streets. However, someone looking for a fix should always be aware of the dangers that come with obtaining a drug illicitly. One can no longer know what they are taking when they move from a prescription to something illegal. More and more dealers are using other synthetic, cheaper substances as fillers to keep their costs down, like how many Heroin dealers are substituting with Fentanyl.

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Treatment for Propoxyphene Addiction

Regardless of whether you have an addiction to Propoxyphene, or have been pushed to another drug, the danger is the same. Without treatment, addiction is a time bomb. If you or someone you know need help, then reach out today. There are dedicated treatment specialists waiting to help, with the knowledge to defuse the situation.

Last Edited: May 10, 2018

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